Application-Guided Power-Efficient Fault Tolerance for H.264 Context Adaptive Variable Length Coding

Muhammad Shafique, Semeen Rehman, Florian Kriebel, Muhammad Usman Karim Khan, Bruno Zatt, Arun Subramaniyan, Bruno Boessio Vizzotto, Jorg Henkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a fault-tolerance technique for H.264's Context-Adaptive Variable Length Coding (CAVLC) on unreliable computing hardware. The application-specific knowledge is leveraged at both algorithm and architecture levels to protect the CAVLC process (especially context adaptation and coding tables) in a reliable yet power-efficient manner. Specifically, the statistical analysis of coding syntax and video content properties are exploited for: (1) selective redundancy of coefficient/header data of video bitstreams; (2) partitioning the coding tables into various sub-tables to reduce the power overhead of fault tolerance; and (3) run-time power management of memory parts storing the sub-tables and their parity computations. Experimental results demonstrate that leveraging application-specific knowledge reduces area and performance overhead by 2x compared to a double-parity table protection technique. For functional verification and area comparison, the complete H.264 CAVLC architecture is prototyped on a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA (though not limited to it).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7588180
Pages (from-to)560-574
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Application-specific optimization
  • entropy coding
  • fault tolerance
  • h.264
  • reliability
  • video coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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