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Energy efficiency, performance, area, and cost are critical concerns in designing microprocessors for embedded systems, such as portable handheld computing and personal telecommunication devices. This work introduces framework-based instruction set architecture (ISA) synthesis, which reduces code size and energy consumption by tailoring the instruction set to the requirement of a targeted application. This is achieved by replacing the fixed instruction and register decoding of general-purpose embedded processors with programmable decoders that can achieve application-specific processor performance, low energy consumption, and smaller code size while maintaining the fabrication advantages of a mass-produced single-chip solution. Experimental results show that our synthesized instruction set results in significant power reduction in the L1 instruction cache compared with ARM® instructions.
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Date of Publication: March 2006