Towards energy efficient computing with Linux: enabling task level power awareness and support for energy efficient accelerator

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With increasing transistor volume and reducing feature size, it has become a major design constraint to reduce power consumption also. This has given rise to aggressive architectural changes for on-chi

With increasing transistor volume and reducing feature size, it has become a major design constraint to reduce power consumption also. This has given rise to aggressive architectural changes for on-chip power management and rapid development to energy efficient hardware accelerators. Accordingly, the objective of this research work is to facilitate software developers to leverage these hardware techniques and improve energy efficiency of the system. To achieve this, I propose two solutions for Linux kernel: Optimal use of these architectural enhancements to achieve greater energy efficiency requires accurate modeling of processor power consumption. Though there are many models available in literature to model processor power consumption, there is a lack of such models to capture power consumption at the task-level. Task-level energy models are a requirement for an operating system (OS) to perform real-time power management as OS time multiplexes tasks to enable sharing of hardware resources. I propose a detailed design methodology for constructing an architecture agnostic task-level power model and incorporating it into a modern operating system to build an online task-level power profiler. The profiler is implemented inside the latest Linux kernel and validated for Intel Sandy Bridge processor. It has a negligible overhead of less than 1\% hardware resource consumption. The profiler power prediction was demonstrated for various application benchmarks from SPEC to PARSEC with less than 4\% error. I also demonstrate the importance of the proposed profiler for emerging architectural techniques through use case scenarios, which include heterogeneous computing and fine grained per-core DVFS. Along with architectural enhancement in general purpose processors to improve energy efficiency, hardware accelerators like Coarse Grain reconfigurable architecture (CGRA) are gaining popularity. Unlike vector processors, which rely on data parallelism, CGRA can provide greater flexibility and compiler level control making it more suitable for present SoC environment. To provide streamline development environment for CGRA, I propose a flexible framework in Linux to do design space exploration for CGRA. With accurate and flexible hardware models, fine grained integration with accurate architectural simulator, and Linux memory management and DMA support, a user can carry out limitless experiments on CGRA in full system environment.