Solving the Big Secret – Synopsys Attacks SEUs in FPGAs

A few years ago, one FPGA vendor, Actel, was quietly shouting in the corner. “Hey! Single event upsets (SEUs) are a big problem for FPGAs!”

The other FPGA companies replied with a thoughtful technical analysis of the situation: “Hey, Actel – SHUT UP!”

OK, maybe that’s not exactly the way it went down, but the idea is basically right. You see, Actel’s history is in super-high-reliability FPGAs for use in space. Up in space, there are lots of tiny particles flying around with a lot of energy. When one of those particles hits a vulnerable part of an IC (like a storage element of some kind), it can flip the bit from one to zero or zero to one. As your razor-sharp digital design mind might be telling you right now, this is really bad….

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