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In this paper, we aim to improve the performance and power metrics of packet-switched network-on-chips (NoCs) and benefits from the scalability and resource utilization advantages of NoCs and superior communication performance of point-to-point dedicated links. The proposed method sets up the virtual point-to-point (VIP) connections over one virtual channel (which bypasses the entire router pipeline) at each physical channel of the NoC. We present two schemes for constructing such VIP circuits. In the first scheme, the circuits are constructed for an application based on its task-graph at design time. The second scheme addresses constructing the connections at run-time using a light-weight setup network. It involves monitoring the NoC traffic in order to detect heavy communication flows and setting up a VIP connection for them using a run-time circuit construction mechanism. The proposed mechanism is compared to a traditional packet-switched NoC and some modern switching mechanisms and the results show a significant reduction in the network power and latency over the other considered NoCs.
Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:29 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: June 2010