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Power-performance simulation and design strategies for single-chip heterogeneous multiprocessors

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6 Author(s)
Meyer, B.H. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Pieper, J.J. ; Paul, J.M. ; Nelson, J.E.
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Single chip heterogeneous multiprocessors (SCHMs) are becoming more commonplace, especially in portable devices where reduced energy consumption is a priority. The use of coordinated collections of processors which are simpler or which execute at lower clock frequencies is widely recognized as a means of reducing power while maintaining latency and throughput. A primary limitation of using this approach to reduce power at the system level has been the time to develop and simulate models of many processors at the instruction set simulator level. High-level models, simulators, and design strategies for SCHMs are required to enable designers to think in terms of collections of cooperating, heterogeneous processors in order to reduce power. Toward this end, this paper has two contributions. The first is to extend a unique, preexisting high-level performance simulator, the Modeling Environment for Software and Hardware (MESH), to include power annotations. MESH can be thought of as a thread-level simulator instead of an instruction-level simulator. Thus, the problem is to understand how power might be calibrated and annotated with program fragments instead of at the instruction level. Program fragments are finer-grained than threads and coarser-grained than instructions. Our experimentation found that compilers produce instruction patterns that allow power to be annotated at this level using a single number over all compiler-generated fragments executing on a processor. Since energy is power*time, this makes system runtime (i.e., performance) the dominant factor to be dynamically calculated at this level of simulation. The second contribution arises from the observation that high-level modeling is most beneficial when it opens up new possibilities for organizing designs. Thus, we introduce a design strategy, enabled by the high-level performance power-simulation, which we refer to as spatial voltage scaling. The strategy both reduces overall system power consumption and improves performance in our example. The design space for this design strategy could not be explored without high-level SCHM power-performance simulation.

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Computers, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 6 )