Adopting the drowsy technique for instruction caches: A soft error perspective

Soong Hyun Shin, Sung Woo Chung, Eui Young Chung, Chu Shik Jhon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


As technology scales down, leakage energy accounts for a greater proportion of total energy. Applying the drowsy technique to a cache, is regarded as one of the most efficient techniques for reducing leakage energy. However, it increases the Soft Error Rate (SER), thus, many researchers doubt the reliability of the drowsy technique. In this paper, we show several reasons why the instruction cache can adopt the drowsy technique without reliability problems. First, an instruction cache always stores read-only data, leading to soft error recovery by re-fetching the instructions from lower level memory. Second, the effect of the re-fetching caused by soft errors on performance is negligible. Additionally, a considerable percentage of soft errors can occur without harming the performance. Lastly, unrecoverable soft errors can be controlled by the scrubbing method. The simulation results show that the drowsy instruction cache rarely increases the rate of unrecoverable errors and negligibly degrades the performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1772-1779
Number of pages8
JournalIEICE Transactions on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Drowsy technique
  • Instruction cache
  • Low-power
  • Soft error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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