Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-5-2017


A novel application of support vector machines (SVMs), artificial neural networks (ANNs), and Gaussian processes (GPs) for machine learning (GPML) to model microcontroller unit (MCU) upset due to intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI) is presented. In this approach, an MCU performs a counting operation (0-7) while electromagnetic interference in the form of a radio frequency (RF) pulse is direct-injected into the MCU clock line. Injection times with respect to the clock signal are the clock low, clock rising edge, clock high, and the clock falling edge periods in the clock window during which the MCU is performing initialization and executing the counting procedure. The intent is to cause disruption in the counting operation and model the probability of effect (PoE) using machine learning tools. Five experiments were executed as part of this research, each of which contained a set of 38,300 training points and 38,300 test points, for a total of 383,000 total points with the following experiment variables: injection times with respect to the clock signal, injected RF power, injected RF pulse width, and injected RF frequency. For the 191,500 training points, the average training error was 12.47%, while for the 191,500 test points the average test error was 14.85%, meaning that on average, the machine was able to predict MCU upset with an 85.15% accuracy. Leaving out the results for the worst-performing model (SVM with a linear kernel), the test prediction accuracy for the remaining machines is almost 89%. All three machine learning methods (ANNs, SVMs, and GPML) showed excellent and consistent results in their ability to model and predict the PoE on an MCU due to IEMI. The GP approach performed best during training with a 7.43% average training error, while the ANN technique was most accurate during the test with a 10.80% error.


IEMI, microcontroller upset modeling, machine learning, neural networks, Gaussian processes, support vector machines


United States Air Force, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air Force Research Laboratory

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Edl Schamiloglu

Second Committee Member

Christos Christodoulou

Third Committee Member

Manel Martinez-Ramon

Third Advisor

Timothy Clarke

Fourth Committee Member

Trilce Estrada

Fifth Committee Member

Sameer Hemmady