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Space Radiation Effects on Computing Platforms

Primary Investigators:
Arthur Witulski
Bharat Bhuva
 
Brief Description of Project:
Radiation in space can upset the computation of digital computers. In the past, processors that have been hardened at the factory against radiation have been used to prevent these upsets, but hardened electronic parts are very expensive, on the order of 100 times the price of commercial parts. NASA and other space agencies are interested in whether commercial processors in standard computing platforms can be used in highly-shielded environments in space, such as human habitable chambers. In this project we are building models of how radiation affects commercial computers in space, and testing computing platforms in various radiation sources.

Desired Qualifications:
Rising Juniors or Seniors  can apply. Digital Logic and  basic microprocessor knowledge are helpful. Experience with assembly language would be very helpful. We are working on test bench assembly routines to run on an ARM processor during a proton radiation test to detect radiation errors.
 
Nature of Supervision:
Our research team, which consists of faculty, undergrads, and graduate students, meets every week to discuss how the project is going.
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Read some background material to become familiar with radiation effects and the work of previous students on the team. Most of the work will be working with others on the team to develop assembly programs for use during radiation testing to detect and classify errors caused by the protons.
 
Number of Open Slots: 1
 
Contact Information:
Name: Arthur Witulski
Department: Computer Science
Email: arthur.f.witulski@vanderbilt.edu