We found bitcoin mining is inherently tolerant to faults in the mining ASIC that can be exploited to maximize profits by up to 30% — techniques that could be useful to any application of approximate computing.
First some background for the novice: Bitcoin is the most popular crypto-currency today with a market capitalization of over $6.3 billion. Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public ledger called a blockchain. All new transactions are checked against existing history to ensure validity of new transactions. Transaction verification and blockchain updates are performed by so-called miners. Miners are rewarded with some new bitcoins for every block of transactions that they add to the blockchain.
Bitcoin mining involves searching for a cryptographic nonce value (a sequence of bits) within a block of transactions such that the hash of the block is less than a threshold. Each miner attempts to find a valid nonce earlier than other miners so that the bitcoin reward for the block can be claimed.
As can be imagined, the higher the hash rate the higher is the probability of winning the reward for a block. However, the higher the hash rate the more the power consumption of mining. A miner has to