Vision processing on traditional architectures is inefficient due to energy-expensive off-chip data movements. Many researchers advocate pushing processing close to the sensor to substantially reduce data movements. However, continuous near-sensor processing raises the sensor temperature, impairing the fidelity of imaging/vision tasks.
The work characterizes the thermal implications of using 3D stacked image sensors with near-sensor vision processing units. The characterization reveals that near-sensor processing reduces system power but degrades image quality. For reasonable image fidelity, the sensor temperature needs to stay below a threshold, situationally determined by application needs. Fortunately, the characterization also identifies opportunities -- unique to the needs of near-sensor processing -- to regulate temperature based on dynamic visual task requirements and rapidly increase capture quality on demand.
Based on the characterization, the work proposes and investigate two thermal management strategies -- stop-capture-go and seasonal migration -- for imaging-aware thermal management. The work present parameters that govern the policy decisions and explore the trade-offs between system power and policy overhead. The work's evaluation shows that the novel dynamic thermal management strategies can unlock the energy-efficiency potential of near-sensor processing with minimal performance impact, without compromising image fidelity.