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Processors progressively age during their service life due to normal workload activity. Such aging results in gradually slower circuits. Anticipating this fact, designers add timing guardbands to processors, so that processors last for a number of years. As a result, aging has important design and cost implications. To address this problem, this paper shows how to hide the effects of aging and how to slow it down. Our framework is called Facelift. It hides aging through aging-driven application scheduling. It slows down aging by applying voltage changes at key times - it uses a non-linear optimization algorithm to carefully balance the impact of voltage changes on the aging rate and on the critical path delays. Moreover, Facelift can gainfully configure the chip for a short service life. Simulation results indicate that Facelift leads to more cost-effective multicores. We can take a multicore designed for a 7-year service life and, by hiding and slowing down aging, enable it to run, on average, at a 14-15% higher frequency during its whole service life. Alternatively, we can design the multicore for a 5 to 7-month service life and still use it for 7 years.
Date of Conference: 8-12 Nov. 2008