Compilation and Synthesis for Fault-Tolerant Digital Microfluidic Biochips

Mirela Alistar

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Microfluidic-based biochips are replacing the conventional biochemical analyzers, by integrating all the necessary functions for biochemical analysis using microfluidics. The digital microfluidic biochips (DMBs) manipulate discrete amounts of fluids of nanoliter volume, named droplets, on an array of electrodes to perform operations such as dispensing, transport, mixing, split, dilution and detection.

Researchers have proposed compilation approaches, which, starting from a biochemical application and a biochip architecture, determine the allocation, resource binding, scheduling, placement and routing of the operations in the application. During the execution of a bioassay, operations could experience transient faults, thus impacting negatively the correctness of the application. We have proposed both offline (design time) and online (runtime) recovery strategies. The online recovery strategy decides the introduction of the redundancy required for fault-tolerance. We consider both time redundancy, i.e., re-executing erroneous operations, and space redundancy, i.e., creating redundant droplets for fault-tolerance. Error recovery is performed such that the number of transient faults tolerated is maximized and the timing constraints of the biochemical application are satisfied.

Previous work has assumed that the biochip architecture is given, and most approaches consider a rectangular shape for the electrode array, where operations execute on rectangular “modules” formed of electrodes. However, non-regular application-specific architectures are common in practice. Hence, we have proposed an approach to the synthesis of application-specific architectures, such that the cost is minimized and the timing constraints of the application are satisfied.

We propose an algorithm to build a library of non-regular modules for a given applicationspecific architecture, so that the area of a non-regular application-specific biochip can be used effectively. During fabrication, DMBs can be affected by permanent faults, which may lead to the failure of the application. Our approach introduces redundant electrodes to synthesize fault-tolerant architectures aiming at increasing the yield of DMBs. We also propose a method to estimate, at design time, the application completion time in case of permanent faults in order to verify if an application can be successfully run on the architecture.

The proposed approaches were evaluated using several real-life case studies and synthetic benchmarks.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages153
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesDTU Compute PHD-2014


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