Multiscale System Modeling of Single-Event-Induced Faults in Advanced Node Processors

Matthew Cannon, Arun Rodrigues, Dolores Black, Jeff Black, Luis Bustamante, Matthew Breeding, Ben Feinberg, Micahel Skoufis, Heather Quinn, Lawrence T. Clark, John Brunhaver, Hugh Barnaby, Michael McLain, Sapan Agarwal, Matthew J. Marinella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Integration-technology feature shrink increases computing-system susceptibility to single-event effects (SEE). While modeling SEE faults will be critical, an integrated processor's scope makes physically correct modeling computationally intractable. Without useful models, presilicon evaluation of fault-tolerance approaches becomes impossible. To incorporate accurate transistor-level effects at a system scope, we present a multiscale simulation framework. Charge collection at the 1) device level determines 2) circuit-level transient duration and state-upset likelihood. Circuit effects, in turn, impact 3) register-transfer-level architecture-state corruption visible at 4) the system level. Thus, the physically accurate effects of SEEs in large-scale systems, executed on a high-performance computing (HPC) simulator, could be used to drive cross-layer radiation hardening by design. We demonstrate the capabilities of this model with two case studies. First, we determine a D flip-flop's sensitivity at the transistor level on 14-nm FinFet technology, validating the model against published cross sections. Second, we track and estimate faults in a microprocessor without interlocked pipelined stages (MIPS) processor for Adams 90% worst case environment in an isotropic space environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9424210
Pages (from-to)980-990
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Fault modeling
  • single-event effects (SEEs)
  • single-event transient (SET)
  • single-event upset (SEU)
  • structural simulation toolkit (SST)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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