This paper considers the problem of how to efficiently measure a large and complex information field with optimally few observations. Specifically, we investigate how to stochastically estimate modular criticality values in a large-scale digital circuit with a very limited number of measurements in order to minimize the total measurement efforts and time. We prove that, through sparsity-promoting transform domain regularization and by strategically integrating compressive sensing with Bayesian learning, more than 98% of the overall measurement accuracy can be achieved with fewer than 10% of measurements as required in a conventional approach that uses exhaustive measurements. Furthermore, we illustrate that the obtained criticality results can be utilized to selectively fortify large-scale digital circuits for operation with narrow voltage headrooms and in the presence of soft-errors rising at near threshold voltage levels, without excessive hardware overheads. Our numerical simulation results have shown that, by optimally allocating only 10% circuit redundancy, for some large-scale benchmark circuits, we can achieve more than a three-times reduction in its overall error probability, whereas if randomly distributing such 10% hardware resource, less than 2% improvements in the target circuit’s overall robustness will be observed. Finally, we conjecture that our proposed approach can be readily applied to estimate other essential properties of digital circuits that are critical to designing and analyzing them, such as the observability measure in reliability analysis and the path delay estimation in stochastic timing analysis. The only key requirement of our proposed methodology is that these global information fields exhibit a certain degree of smoothness, which is universally true for almost any physical phenomenon.
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