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Chip level implementation techniques for radiation hardened microprocessors

Description

Microprocessors are the processing heart of any digital system and are central to all the technological advancements of the age including space exploration and monitoring. The demands of space exploration require a special class of microprocessors called radiation hardened microprocessors

Microprocessors are the processing heart of any digital system and are central to all the technological advancements of the age including space exploration and monitoring. The demands of space exploration require a special class of microprocessors called radiation hardened microprocessors which are less susceptible to radiation present outside the earth's atmosphere, in other words their functioning is not disrupted even in presence of disruptive radiation. The presence of these particles forces the designers to come up with design techniques at circuit and chip levels to alleviate the errors which can be encountered in the functioning of microprocessors. Microprocessor evolution has been very rapid in terms of performance but the same cannot be said about its rad-hard counterpart. With the total data processing capability overall increasing rapidly, the clear lack of performance of the processors manifests as a bottleneck in any processing system. To design high performance rad-hard microprocessors designers have to overcome difficult design problems at various design stages i.e. Architecture, Synthesis, Floorplanning, Optimization, routing and analysis all the while maintaining circuit radiation hardness. The reference design `HERMES' is targeted at 90nm IBM G process and is expected to reach 500Mhz which is twice as fast any processor currently available. Chapter 1 talks about the mechanisms of radiation effects which cause upsets and degradation to the functioning of digital circuits. Chapter 2 gives a brief description of the components which are used in the design and are part of the consistent efforts at ASUVLSI lab culminating in this chip level implementation of the design. Chapter 3 explains the basic digital design ASIC flow and the changes made to it leading to a rad-hard specific ASIC flow used in implementing this chip. Chapter 4 talks about the triple mode redundant (TMR) specific flow which is used in the block implementation, delineating the challenges faced and the solutions proposed to make the flow work. Chapter 5 explains the challenges faced and solutions arrived at while using the top-level flow described in chapter 3. Chapter 6 puts together the results and analyzes the design in terms of basic integrated circuit design constraints.

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2013

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Model-based design, simulation and automatic code generation for embedded systems and robotic applications

Description

As the complexity of robotic systems and applications grows rapidly, development of high-performance, easy to use, and fully integrated development environments for those systems is inevitable. Model-Based Design (MBD) of dynamic systems using engineering software such as Simulink® from MathWorks®,

As the complexity of robotic systems and applications grows rapidly, development of high-performance, easy to use, and fully integrated development environments for those systems is inevitable. Model-Based Design (MBD) of dynamic systems using engineering software such as Simulink® from MathWorks®, SciCos from Metalau team and SystemModeler® from Wolfram® is quite popular nowadays. They provide tools for modeling, simulation, verification and in some cases automatic code generation for desktop applications, embedded systems and robots. For real-world implementation of models on the actual hardware, those models should be converted into compilable machine code either manually or automatically. Due to the complexity of robotic systems, manual code translation from model to code is not a feasible optimal solution so we need to move towards automated code generation for such systems. MathWorks® offers code generation facilities called Coder® products for this purpose. However in order to fully exploit the power of model-based design and code generation tools for robotic applications, we need to enhance those software systems by adding and modifying toolboxes, files and other artifacts as well as developing guidelines and procedures. In this thesis, an effort has been made to propose a guideline as well as a Simulink® library, StateFlow® interface API and a C/C++ interface API to complete this toolchain for NAO humanoid robots. Thus the model of the hierarchical control architecture can be easily and properly converted to code and built for implementation.

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2013

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Study of an epidemic multiple behavior diffusion model in a resource constrained social network

Description

In contemporary society, sustainability and public well-being have been pressing challenges. Some of the important questions are:how can sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emission, be encouraged? , How can a healthy lifestyle be maintained?Even though individuals are interested, they

In contemporary society, sustainability and public well-being have been pressing challenges. Some of the important questions are:how can sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emission, be encouraged? , How can a healthy lifestyle be maintained?Even though individuals are interested, they are unable to adopt these behaviors due to resource constraints. Developing a framework to enable cooperative behavior adoption and to sustain it for a long period of time is a major challenge. As a part of developing this framework, I am focusing on methods to understand behavior diffusion over time. Facilitating behavior diffusion with resource constraints in a large population is qualitatively different from promoting cooperation in small groups. Previous work in social sciences has derived conditions for sustainable cooperative behavior in small homogeneous groups. However, how groups of individuals having resource constraint co-operate over extended periods of time is not well understood, and is the focus of my thesis. I develop models to analyze behavior diffusion over time through the lens of epidemic models with the condition that individuals have resource constraint. I introduce an epidemic model SVRS ( Susceptible-Volatile-Recovered-Susceptible) to accommodate multiple behavior adoption. I investigate the longitudinal effects of behavior diffusion by varying different properties of an individual such as resources,threshold and cost of behavior adoption. I also consider how behavior adoption of an individual varies with her knowledge of global adoption. I evaluate my models on several synthetic topologies like complete regular graph, preferential attachment and small-world and make some interesting observations. Periodic injection of early adopters can help in boosting the spread of behaviors and sustain it for a longer period of time. Also, behavior propagation for the classical epidemic model SIRS (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered-Susceptible) does not continue for an infinite period of time as per conventional wisdom. One interesting future direction is to investigate how behavior adoption is affected when number of individuals in a network changes. The affects on behavior adoption when availability of behavior changes with time can also be examined.

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2013

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Data movement energy characterization of emerging smartphone workloads for mobile platforms

Description

A benchmark suite that is representative of the programs a processor typically executes is necessary to understand a processor's performance or energy consumption characteristics. The first contribution of this work addresses this need for mobile platforms with MobileBench, a

A benchmark suite that is representative of the programs a processor typically executes is necessary to understand a processor's performance or energy consumption characteristics. The first contribution of this work addresses this need for mobile platforms with MobileBench, a selection of representative smartphone applications. In smartphones, like any other portable computing systems, energy is a limited resource. Based on the energy characterization of a commercial widely-used smartphone, application cores are found to consume a significant part of the total energy consumption of the device. With this insight, the subsequent part of this thesis focuses on the portion of energy that is spent to move data from the memory system to the application core's internal registers. The primary motivation for this work comes from the relatively higher power consumption associated with a data movement instruction compared to that of an arithmetic instruction. The data movement energy cost is worsened esp. in a System on Chip (SoC) because the amount of data received and exchanged in a SoC based smartphone increases at an explosive rate. A detailed investigation is performed to quantify the impact of data movement

on the overall energy consumption of a smartphone device. To aid this study, microbenchmarks that generate desired data movement patterns between different levels of the memory hierarchy are designed. Energy costs of data movement are then computed by measuring the instantaneous power consumption of the device when the micro benchmarks are executed. This work makes an extensive use of hardware performance counters to validate the memory access behavior of microbenchmarks and to characterize the energy consumed in moving data. Finally, the calculated energy costs of data movement are used to characterize the portion of energy that MobileBench applications spend in moving data. The results of this study show that a significant 35% of the total device energy is spent in data movement alone. Energy is an increasingly important criteria in the context of designing architectures for future smartphones and this thesis offers insights into data movement energy consumption.

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2014

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Privacy preserving controls for Android applications

Description

Android is currently the most widely used mobile operating system. The permission model in Android governs the resource access privileges of applications. The permission model however is amenable to various attacks, including re-delegation attacks, background snooping attacks and disclosure of

Android is currently the most widely used mobile operating system. The permission model in Android governs the resource access privileges of applications. The permission model however is amenable to various attacks, including re-delegation attacks, background snooping attacks and disclosure of private information. This thesis is aimed at understanding, analyzing and performing forensics on application behavior. This research sheds light on several security aspects, including the use of inter-process communications (IPC) to perform permission re-delegation attacks.

Android permission system is more of app-driven rather than user controlled, which means it is the applications that specify their permission requirement and the only thing which the user can do is choose not to install a particular application based on the requirements. Given the all or nothing choice, users succumb to pressures and needs to accept permissions requested. This thesis proposes a couple of ways for providing the users finer grained control of application privileges. The same methods can be used to evade the Permission Re-delegation attack.

This thesis also proposes and implements a novel methodology in Android that can be used to control the access privileges of an Android application, taking into consideration the context of the running application. This application-context based permission usage is further used to analyze a set of sample applications. We found the evidence of applications spoofing or divulging user sensitive information such as location information, contact information, phone id and numbers, in the background. Such activities can be used to track users for a variety of privacy-intrusive purposes. We have developed implementations that minimize several forms of privacy leaks that are routinely done by stock applications.

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2014

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Stochastic simulation framework for a data mule network in the Amazon delta

Description

This report investigates the improvement in the transmission throughput, when fountain codes are used in opportunistic data routing, for a proposed delay tolerant network to connect remote and isolated communities in the Amazon region in Brazil, to the main city

This report investigates the improvement in the transmission throughput, when fountain codes are used in opportunistic data routing, for a proposed delay tolerant network to connect remote and isolated communities in the Amazon region in Brazil, to the main city of that area. To extend healthcare facilities to the remote and isolated communities, on the banks of river Amazon in Brazil, the network [7] utilizes regularly schedules boats as data mules to carry data from one city to other.

Frequent thunder and rain storms, given state of infrastructure and harsh geographical terrain; all contribute to increase in chances of massages not getting delivered to intended destination. These regions have access to medical facilities only through sporadic visits from medical team from the main city in the region, Belem. The proposed network uses records for routine clinical examinations such as ultrasounds on pregnant women could be sent to the doctors in Belem for evaluation.

However, due to the lack of modern communication infrastructure in these communities and unpredictable boat schedules due to delays and breakdowns, as well as high transmission failures due to the harsh environment in the region, mandate the design of robust delay-tolerant routing algorithms. The work presented here incorporates the unpredictability of the Amazon riverine scenario into the simulation model - accounting for boat mechanical failure in boats leading to delays/breakdowns, possible decrease in transmission speed due to rain and individual packet losses.

Extensive simulation results are presented, to evaluate the proposed approach and to verify that the proposed solution [7] could be used as a viable mode of communication, given the lack of available options in the region. While the simulation results are focused on remote healthcare applications in the Brazilian Amazon, we envision that our approach may also be used for other remote applications, such as distance education, and other similar scenarios.

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2015

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Dynamic analysis of multithreaded embedded software to expose atomicity violations

Description

Concurrency bugs are one of the most notorious software bugs and are very difficult to manifest. Significant work has been done on detection of atomicity violations bugs for high performance systems but there is not much work related to detect

Concurrency bugs are one of the most notorious software bugs and are very difficult to manifest. Significant work has been done on detection of atomicity violations bugs for high performance systems but there is not much work related to detect these bugs for embedded systems. Although criteria to claim existence of bugs remains same, approach changes a bit for embedded systems. The main focus of this research is to develop a systemic methodology to address the issue from embedded systems perspective. A framework is developed which predicts the access interleaving patterns that may violate atomicity using memory references of shared variables and provides support to force and analyze these schedules for any output change, system fault or change in execution path.

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2016

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Towards energy efficient computing with Linux: enabling task level power awareness and support for energy efficient accelerator

Description

With increasing transistor volume and reducing feature size, it has become a major design constraint to reduce power consumption also. This has given rise to aggressive architectural changes for on-chip power management and rapid development to energy efficient hardware accelerators.

With increasing transistor volume and reducing feature size, it has become a major design constraint to reduce power consumption also. This has given rise to aggressive architectural changes for on-chip power management and rapid development to energy efficient hardware accelerators. Accordingly, the objective of this research work is to facilitate software developers to leverage these hardware techniques and improve energy efficiency of the system. To achieve this, I propose two solutions for Linux kernel: Optimal use of these architectural enhancements to achieve greater energy efficiency requires accurate modeling of processor power consumption. Though there are many models available in literature to model processor power consumption, there is a lack of such models to capture power consumption at the task-level. Task-level energy models are a requirement for an operating system (OS) to perform real-time power management as OS time multiplexes tasks to enable sharing of hardware resources. I propose a detailed design methodology for constructing an architecture agnostic task-level power model and incorporating it into a modern operating system to build an online task-level power profiler. The profiler is implemented inside the latest Linux kernel and validated for Intel Sandy Bridge processor. It has a negligible overhead of less than 1\% hardware resource consumption. The profiler power prediction was demonstrated for various application benchmarks from SPEC to PARSEC with less than 4\% error. I also demonstrate the importance of the proposed profiler for emerging architectural techniques through use case scenarios, which include heterogeneous computing and fine grained per-core DVFS. Along with architectural enhancement in general purpose processors to improve energy efficiency, hardware accelerators like Coarse Grain reconfigurable architecture (CGRA) are gaining popularity. Unlike vector processors, which rely on data parallelism, CGRA can provide greater flexibility and compiler level control making it more suitable for present SoC environment. To provide streamline development environment for CGRA, I propose a flexible framework in Linux to do design space exploration for CGRA. With accurate and flexible hardware models, fine grained integration with accurate architectural simulator, and Linux memory management and DMA support, a user can carry out limitless experiments on CGRA in full system environment.

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2013

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A systematic approach to generate the security requirements for the smart home system

Description

Smart home system (SHS) is a kind of information system aiming at realizing home automation. The SHS can connect with almost any kind of electronic/electric device used in a home so that they can be controlled and monitored centrally. Today's

Smart home system (SHS) is a kind of information system aiming at realizing home automation. The SHS can connect with almost any kind of electronic/electric device used in a home so that they can be controlled and monitored centrally. Today's technology also allows the home owners to control and monitor the SHS installed in their homes remotely. This is typically realized by giving the SHS network access ability. Although the SHS's network access ability brings a lot of conveniences to the home owners, it also makes the SHS facing more security threats than ever before. As a result, when designing a SHS, the security threats it might face should be given careful considerations. System security threats can be solved properly by understanding them and knowing the parts in the system that should be protected against them first. This leads to the idea of solving the security threats a SHS might face from the requirements engineering level. Following this idea, this paper proposes a systematic approach to generate the security requirements specifications for the SHS. It can be viewed as the first step toward the complete SHS security requirements engineering process.

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2013

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Design of an automated validation environment for a radiation hardened MIPS microprocessor

Description

Ever reducing time to market, along with short product lifetimes, has created a need to shorten the microprocessor design time. Verification of the design and its analysis are two major components of this design cycle. Design validation techniques can be

Ever reducing time to market, along with short product lifetimes, has created a need to shorten the microprocessor design time. Verification of the design and its analysis are two major components of this design cycle. Design validation techniques can be broadly classified into two major categories: simulation based approaches and formal techniques. Simulation based microprocessor validation involves running millions of cycles using random or pseudo random tests and allows verification of the register transfer level (RTL) model against an architectural model, i.e., that the processor executes instructions as required. The validation effort involves model checking to a high level description or simulation of the design against the RTL implementation. Formal techniques exhaustively analyze parts of the design but, do not verify RTL against the architecture specification. The focus of this work is to implement a fully automated validation environment for a MIPS based radiation hardened microprocessor using simulation based approaches. The basic framework uses the classical validation approach in which the design to be validated is described in a Hardware Definition Language (HDL) such as VHDL or Verilog. To implement a simulation based approach a number of random or pseudo random tests are generated. The output of the HDL based design is compared against the one obtained from a "perfect" model implementing similar functionality, a mismatch in the results would thus indicate a bug in the HDL based design. Effort is made to design the environment in such a manner that it can support validation during different stages of the design cycle. The validation environment includes appropriate changes so as to support architecture changes which are introduced because of radiation hardening. The manner in which the validation environment is build is highly dependent on the specifications of the perfect model used for comparisons. This work implements the validation environment for two MIPS simulators as the reference model. Two bugs have been discovered in the RTL model, using simulation based approaches through the validation environment.

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2011