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Network-on-chip (NoC) designs are based on a compromise among latency, power dissipation, or energy, and the balance is usually defined at design time. However, setting all parameters, such as buffer size, at design time can cause either excessive power dissipation (originated by router under utilization), or a higher latency. The situation worsens whenever the application changes its communication pattern, e.g., a portable phone downloads a new service. Large buffer sizes can ensure performance during the execution of different applications, but unfortunately, these same buffers are mainly responsible for the router total power dissipation. Another aspect is that by sizing buffers for the worst case latency incurs extra dissipation for the mean case, which is much more frequent. In this paper we propose the use of a reconfigurable router, where the buffer slots are dynamically allocated to increase router efficiency in an NoC, even under rather different communication loads. In the proposed architecture, the depth of each buffer word used in the input channels of the routers can be reconfigured at run time. The reconfigurable router allows up to 52% power savings, while maintaining the same performance as that of a homogeneous router, but using a 64% smaller buffer size.
Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:19 , Issue: 11 )
Date of Publication: Nov. 2011