Soft Error Vulnerability of Iterative Linear Algebra Methods

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Devices become increasingly vulnerable to soft errors as their feature sizes shrink. Previously, soft errors primarily caused problems for space and high-atmospheric computing applications. Modern architectures now use features so small at sufficiently low voltages that soft errors are becoming significant even at terrestrial altitudes. The soft error vulnerability of iterative linear algebra methods, which many scientific applications use, is a critical aspect of the overall application vulnerability. These methods are often considered invulnerable to many soft errors because they converge from an imprecise solution to a precise one. However, we show that iterative methods can be vulnerable to soft ... continued below

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Bronevetsky, G & de Supinski, B December 15, 2007.

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Devices become increasingly vulnerable to soft errors as their feature sizes shrink. Previously, soft errors primarily caused problems for space and high-atmospheric computing applications. Modern architectures now use features so small at sufficiently low voltages that soft errors are becoming significant even at terrestrial altitudes. The soft error vulnerability of iterative linear algebra methods, which many scientific applications use, is a critical aspect of the overall application vulnerability. These methods are often considered invulnerable to many soft errors because they converge from an imprecise solution to a precise one. However, we show that iterative methods can be vulnerable to soft errors, with a high rate of silent data corruptions. We quantify this vulnerability, with algorithms generating up to 8.5% erroneous results when subjected to a single bit-flip. Further, we show that detecting soft errors in an iterative method depends on its detailed convergence properties and requires more complex mechanisms than simply checking the residual. Finally, we explore inexpensive techniques to tolerate soft errors in these methods.

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PDF-file: 7 pages; size: 0.7 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: Workshop on Silicon Errors in Logic - System Effects, Austin, TX, United States, Apr 03 - Apr 04, 2007

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  • Report No.: UCRL-CONF-237305
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923619
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc899947

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  • December 15, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 10:09 p.m.

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Bronevetsky, G & de Supinski, B. Soft Error Vulnerability of Iterative Linear Algebra Methods, article, December 15, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc899947/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.