Detection of ESD-Induced Soft Failures by Analyzing Linux Kernel Function Calls

Xiaorui Liu*, Giorgi Maghlakelidze, Jianchi Zhou, Omid Hoseini Izadi, Li Shen, Martin Pommerenke, Shuzhi Sam Ge, David Pommerenke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrostatic discharge (ESD) into a functioning system can cause temporary upsets - soft failures. Subtle soft failures can reduce the reliability of system and cannot be detected by conventional methods based on external equipment or operation system (OS) log. This paper presents a proof of concept for a novel methodology for detection of ESD-induced soft failures through analyzing kernel function trace recordings of the operation system. The method is based on recording Linux kernel function calls during normal operation and after ESD stress injection. The recorded information is visualized in forms of graphical maps of function execution and system call distribution for each process to highlight ESD induced changes. The experimental data shows that soft failures manifest themselves as changes in the function maps and the call distribution within the observed processes. This novel method is capable of detecting subtle system upsets which are not observable for the user through standard I/O or attached equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8954677
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Device and Materials Reliability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Call-trace pattern
  • earth mover's distance (EMD)
  • electrostatic discharge
  • GNU/Linux operating system
  • kernel function
  • power law distribution
  • soft failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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