Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Ultra Low-Cost Defect Protection for Microprocessor Pipelines

Technology #3525

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Valeria Bertacco
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending


As silicon technologies move into the nanometer regime, there is growing concern for the reliability of transistor devices. Device scaling may aggravate a number of long standing silicon failure mechanisms, and it may introduce a number of new non-trivial failure modes. Unless these reliability concerns are addressed, component yield and lifetime may soon be compromised.


Researchers at University of Michigan have developed a low-cost reliable system design approach which provides fine-grained detection, diagnosis, recovery, and repair of silicon defects that occur while the system is in operation in the field. While traditional approaches require at least 100% overhead due to duplication of critical resources, this online testing-based approach provides the same level of protection with an overhead of 5.8%. In addition, when a defect occurs, the subsequent degraded mode of operation was found to have only moderate performance impacts, (from 4% to 18% slowdown). Moreover, the coverage of this approach is good, with 89% of the total area of the prototype design effectively protected against silicon defects.

Applications and Advantages


  • Online testing for microprocessors defect
  • Protection for microprocessor pipelines and-nl-on-chip cache memories


  • Ultra low-cost
  • Very efficient with high coverage-nl-and low performance impacts