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Modeling operation and microarchitecture concurrency for communication architectures with application to retargetable simulation

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3 Author(s)
Xinping Zhu ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Northeastern Univ., Boston, MA, USA ; Wei Qin ; S. Malik

In multiprocessor-based system-on-chips (SOCs), optimizing the communication architecture is often as important as, if not more than, optimizing the computation architecture. While there are mature platforms and techniques for the modeling and evaluation of computation architectures, the same is not true for the communication architectures. A major challenge in modeling the communication architecture is managing the concurrency at multiple levels: at the operation level, multiple communication operations may be active at any time; at the microarchitecture level, several microarchitectural components may be operating in parallel. Further, it is important to be able to clearly specify how the operation-level concurrency maps to the microarchitectural-level concurrency. This paper presents a modeling methodology and a retargetable simulation framework which fill this gap. This framework seeks to facilitate the design space exploration of the communication subsystem through a rigorous modeling approach based on a formal concurrency model, the operation state machine (OSM). Our OSM-based modeling methodology enables the entire system including both the computation and communication architectures to be modeled in a single OSM framework. This allows us to develop a tool set that can synthesize cycle-accurate system simulators for multiprocessing-element SOC prototypes. We show that, by simulation, critical system information such as timing and communication patterns can be obtained and evaluated. Consequently, system-level design choices regarding the communication architecture can be made with high confidence in early stages of design

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 7 )