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An effective network processor design framework - using multi-objective evolutionary algorithms and object oriented techniques to optimise the intel IXP1200 network processor

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2 Author(s)
Noonan, L. ; Dept of Electron. & Comput. Eng., Univ. Of Limerick, Limerick ; Flanagan, C.

In this paper we present a framework for design space exploration of a network processor, that incorporates parameterisation, power and cost analysis. This method utilises multi-objective evolutionary algorithms and object oriented analysis and design. Using this approach an engineer specifies certain hard and soft performance requirements for a multi-processor system, and allows it to be generated automatically by competitive evolution/optimisation, thus obviating the need for detailed design. To make the proposal concrete, we use the Intel IXP1200 network processor as a baseline complex system design and show how various improvements can be make to this architecture by evolutionary/competitive design. Various approaches to multi- objective optimisation (Darwin, Lamarck Baldwin, etc.) are compared and contrasted in their ability to generate architectures meeting various constraints. We also present an assessment of a proposed architecture with reference to four different packet processing roles. The merits of an "island clocking" scheme versus a "common clocking" scheme are also discussed. Our paper highlights the flexibility that this framework bestows on the designer, along with the potential to achieve cost savings and performance improvement.

Published in:

Architecture for Networking and Communications systems, 2006. ANCS 2006. ACM/IEEE Symposium on

Date of Conference:

3-5 Dec. 2006