Fault tolerance, fault handling, survivability, reconfigurable hardware for video compression, autonomous recovery, self repair, mission critical systems, fpgas, partial reconfiguration, runtime faults, adaptive architectures


Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) devices offer a suitable platform for survivable hardware architectures in mission-critical systems. In this dissertation, active dynamic redundancy-based fault-handling techniques are proposed which exploit the dynamic partial reconfiguration capability of SRAM-based FPGAs. Self-adaptation is realized by employing reconfiguration in detection, diagnosis, and recovery phases. To extend these concepts to semiconductor aging and process variation in the deep submicron era, resilient adaptable processing systems are sought to maintain quality and throughput requirements despite the vulnerabilities of the underlying computational devices. A new approach to autonomous fault-handling which addresses these goals is developed using only a uniplex hardware arrangement. It operates by observing a health metric to achieve Fault Demotion using Recon- figurable Slack (FaDReS). Here an autonomous fault isolation scheme is employed which neither requires test vectors nor suspends the computational throughput, but instead observes the value of a health metric based on runtime input. The deterministic flow of the fault isolation scheme guarantees success in a bounded number of reconfigurations of the FPGA fabric. FaDReS is then extended to the Priority Using Resource Escalation (PURE) online redundancy scheme which considers fault-isolation latency and throughput trade-offs under a dynamic spare arrangement. While deep-submicron designs introduce new challenges, use of adaptive techniques are seen to provide several promising avenues for improving resilience. The scheme developed is demonstrated by hardware design of various signal processing circuits and their implementation on a Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA device. These include a Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) core, Motion Estimation (ME) engine, Finite Impulse Response (FIR) Filter, Support Vector Machine (SVM), and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) blocks in addition to MCNC benchmark circuits. A iii significant reduction in power consumption is achieved ranging from 83% for low motion-activity scenes to 12.5% for high motion activity video scenes in a novel ME engine configuration. For a typical benchmark video sequence, PURE is shown to maintain a PSNR baseline near 32dB. The diagnosability, reconfiguration latency, and resource overhead of each approach is analyzed. Compared to previous alternatives, PURE maintains a PSNR within a difference of 4.02dB to 6.67dB from the fault-free baseline by escalating healthy resources to higher-priority signal processing functions. The results indicate the benefits of priority-aware resiliency over conventional redundancy approaches in terms of fault-recovery, power consumption, and resource-area requirements. Together, these provide a broad range of strategies to achieve autonomous recovery of reconfigurable logic devices under a variety of constraints, operating conditions, and optimization criteria.


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Graduation Date





DeMara, Ronald


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic