Novel bio-inspired approach for fault-tolerant VLSI systems

M Samie, G Dragffy, Andy Tyrrell, A Pipe, P Bremner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Living organisms are complex systems, and yet they
possess extremely high degrees of reliability. Since failures are
local their repair would also be undertaken often on local (cell)
level. Engineers have long sought systems that could offer similar
reliability and have relatively recently started trying to integrate
ideas inspired by nature into the modern silicon technology of
today. While bio-inspired proposals inspired by multi-cellular
systems demonstrated feasibility, the resulting systems were
often unduly complex. We are proposing a radically new
methodology inspired by the characteristics, morphology and
behaviour of simpler prokaryotic bacteria and bacterial
communities. The hypothesis used was that such simple
unicellular organism could help to build simpler cost effective
systems, but with improved reliability than hitherto achieved by
other methods. The result is a cellular array-based fault tolerant
electronic system with online self-test and self-repair capability.
The ideas have been simulated, tested and verified through the
successful construction of demonstrators: a PID and a robot
controller. This paper discusses the underlying biological
principles that guided our research and the bio-inspired model
derived. It also gives a detailed circuit and system description of
the architecture, its run-time self-diagnostic and self-repair
capability demonstrated by examples.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6376255
Pages (from-to)1878-1891
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Cite this