Complications in the Integration of Commercial Microprocessors in Harsh Radiation Environments

Complications in the Integration of Commercial Microprocessors in Harsh Radiation Environments – Heather Quinn

Abstract: Most systems deployable to harsh radiation environments use radiation-hardened computational elements to reduce the risk to in-situ failures. Due to the risk adverse nature of these systems, radiation-hardened microprocessors are the standard for these systems. Commercial microprocessors are an attractive alternative to radiation-hardened microprocessors, as the commercial parts are smaller, faster, consume less power, and higher performance than their radiation-hardened counterparts. Unfortunately, commercial microprocessors tend to have destructive failures, crash, and output bad data when used in radiation environments. Given the complexity of microprocessor-based systems, researchers have been stymied by dozens of complications that make it difficult to deploy commercial microprocessors into harsh radiation environments. This talk will cover a number of the complications currently facing radiation effects researchers trying to integrate commercial microprocessors.