Immunotronics - novel finite-state-machine architectures with built-in self-test using self-nonself differentiation

D.W. Bradley, A.M. Tyrrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel approach to hardware fault tolerance is demonstrated that takes inspiration from the human immune system as a method of fault detection. The human immune system is a remarkable system of interacting cells and organs that protect the body from invasion and maintains reliable operation even in the presence of invading bacteria or viruses. This paper seeks to address the field of electronic hardware fault tolerance from an immunological perspective with the aim of showing how novel methods based upon the operation of the immune system can both complement and create new approaches to the development of fault detection mechanisms for reliable hardware systems. In particular, it is shown that by use of partial matching, as prevalent in biological systems, high fault coverage can be achieved with the added advantage of reducing memory requirements. The development of a generic finite-state-machine immunization procedure is discussed that allows any system that can be represented in such a manner to be "immunized" against the occurrence of faulty operation. This is demonstrated by the creation of an immunized decade counter that can detect the presence of faults in real time
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002

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  • artificial immune system
  • error detection
  • fault tolerance
  • finite-state machine
  • immunotronics

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