, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 77–96 | Cite as

Simulating the effects of logic faults in implementation-level VITAL-compliant models

  • Ilya Tuzov
  • David de AndrésEmail author
  • Juan-Carlos Ruiz


Simulation-based fault injection is a well-known technique to assess the dependability of hardware designs specified using hardware description languages (HDL). Although logic faults are usually introduced in models defined at the register transfer level (RTL), most accurate results can be obtained by considering implementation-level ones, which reflect the actual structure and timing of the circuit. These models consist of a list of interconnected technology-specific components (macrocells), provided by vendors and annotated with post-place-and-route delays. Macrocells described in the very high speed integrated circuit HDL (VHDL) should also comply with the VHDL initiative towards application specific integrated circuit libraries (VITAL) standard to be interoperable across standard simulators. However, the rigid architecture imposed by VITAL makes that fault injection procedures applied at RTL cannot be used straightforwardly. This work identifies a set of generic operations on VITAL-compliant macrocells that are later used to define how to accurately simulate the effects of common logic fault models. The generality of this proposal is supported by the definition of a platform-specific fault procedure based on these operations. Three embedded processors, implemented using the Xilinx’s toolchain and SIMPRIM library of macrocells, are considered as a case study, which exposes the gap existing between the robustness assessment at both RTL and implementation-level.


Simulation-based fault injection Implementation-level HDL models VITAL Semicustom design flow 

Mathematics Subject Classification

94C12 (Fault detection; testing) 94Cxx (Circuits networks) 


  1. 1.
    Baraza JC, Gracia J, Blanc S, Gil D, Gil P (2008) Enhancement of fault injection techniques based on the modification of vhdl code. IEEE Tran Very Large Scale Integr Syst 16:693–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baraza JC, Gracia J, Gil D, Gil P (2002) A prototype of a vhdl-based fault injection tool: description and application. Journal of Systems Architecture 47(10):847–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Benites LAC, Kastensmidt FL (2017) Fault injection methodology for single event effects on clock-gated asics. In: IEEE Latin American test symposium. IEEE, pp 1–4Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Benso A, Prinetto P (2003) Fault injection techniques and tools for VLSI reliability evaluation. Frontiers in electronic testing. Kluwer Academic Publishers, BerlinzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cobham Gaisler AB: LEON3 processor product sheet (2016).
  6. 6.
    Cohen B (2012) VHDL coding styles and methodologies. Springer, New YorkzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Das SR, Mukherjee S, Petriu EM, Assaf MH, Sahinoglu M, Jone WB (2006) An improved fault simulation approach based on verilog with application to ISCAS benchmark circuits. In: IEEE instrumentation and measurement technology conference, pp 1902–1907Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fernandez V, Sanchez P, Garcia M, Villar E (1994) Fault modeling and injection in VITAL descriptions. In: Third annual Atlantic test workshop, pp o1–o4Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gil D, Gracia J, Baraza JC, Gil P (2003) Study, comparison and application of different vhdl-based fault injection techniques for the experimental validation of a fault-tolerant system. J Syst Archit 34(1):41–51Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gil P, Arlat J, Madeira H, Crouzet Y, Jarboui T, Kanoun K, Marteau T, Duraes J, Vieira M, Gil D, Baraza JC, Gracia J (2002) Fault representativeness. Technical report, dependability benchmarking projectGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Guthaus MR, Ringenberg JS, Ernst D, Austin TM, Mudge T, Brown RB (2001) MiBench: a free, commercially representative embedded benchmark suite. In: IEEE 4th annual workshop on workload characterization, pp 3–14Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    IEEE Standard for VITAL ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) (2000) Modeling specification. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, StandardGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    IEEE Standard VHDL Language Reference Manual (2008) Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, StandardGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    IEEE Standard for Standard Delay Format (SDF) for the Electronic Design Process. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Standard (2001)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jenn E, Arlat J, Rimen M, Ohlsson J, Karlsson J (1994) Fault injection into VHDL models: the MEFISTO tool. In: International symposium on fault-tolerant computing, pp 66–75Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kochte MA, Schaal M, Wunderlich HJ, Zoellin CG (2010) Efficient fault simulation on many-core processors. In: Design automation conference, pp 380–385Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mansour W, Velazco R (2013) An automated seu fault-injection method and tool for HDL-based designs. IEEE Trans Nucl Sci 60(4):2728–2733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mentor Graphics (2016) Questa SIM command reference manual 10.7b, Document Revision 3.5.
  19. 19.
    Munden R (2000) Inverter, STDN library. Free model foundry VHDL model list.
  20. 20.
    Munden R (2004) ASIC and FPGA verification: a guide to component modeling. Systems on silicon. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Na J, Lee D (2011) Simulated fault injection using simulator modification technique. ETRI J 33(1):50–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nimara S, Amaricai A, Popa M (2015) Sub-threshold cmos circuits reliability assessment using simulated fault injection based on simulator commands. In: IEEE International Symposium on Applied Computational Intelligence and Informatics, pp 101–104Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Oregano Systems GmbH (2013) MC8051 IP Core, user guide (V 1.2) 2013.
  24. 24.
    Romani E (1998) Structural PIC165X microcontroller. Hamburg VHDL archive.
  25. 25.
    Shaw D, Al-Khalili D, Rozon C (2006) Automatic generation of defect injectable VHDL fault models for ASIC standard cell libraries. Integr VLSI J 39(4):382–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Shaw DB, Al-Khalili D (2003) IC bridge fault modeling for IP blocks using neural network-based VHDL saboteurs. IEEE Trans Comput 10:1285–1297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Short KL (2008) VHDL for engineers, 1st edn. Pearson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sieh V, Tschache O, Balbach F (1997) Verify: evaluation of reliability using VHDL-models with embedded fault descriptions. In: International symposium on fault-tolerant computing, pp 32–36Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Singh L, Drucker L (2004) Advanced verification techniques. Frontiers in electronic testing. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tuzov I, de Andrés D, Ruiz JC (2017) Dependability-aware design space exploration for optimal synthesis parameters tuning. In: IEEE/IFIP international conference on dependable systems and networks, pp 1–12Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tuzov I, de Andrés D, Ruiz JC (2017) Robustness assessment via simulation-based fault injection of the implementation level models of the LEON3, MC8051, and PIC microcontrollers in presence of stuck-at, bit-flip, pulse, and delay fault models [Data set], Zenodo.
  32. 32.
    Tuzov I, de Andrés D, Ruiz JC (2018) DAVOS: EDA toolkit for dependability assessment, verification, optimization and selection of hardware models. In: IEEE/IFIP international conference on dependable systems and networks, pp 322–329Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Tuzov I, Ruiz JC, de Andrés D (2017) Accurately simulating the effects of faults in VHDL models described at the implementation-level. In: European dependable computing conference, pp 10–17Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Wang LT, Chang YW, Cheng KT (2009) Electronic design automation: synthesis, verification, and test. Morgan Kaufmann, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Xilinx: Synthesis and simulation design guide, UG626 (v14.4) (2012).

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ITACAUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations