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WCET-aware scratchpad memory management for hard real-time systems

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Cyber-physical systems and hard real-time systems have strict timing constraints that specify deadlines until which tasks must finish their execution. Missing a deadline can cause unexpected outcome or endanger human

Cyber-physical systems and hard real-time systems have strict timing constraints that specify deadlines until which tasks must finish their execution. Missing a deadline can cause unexpected outcome or endanger human lives in safety-critical applications, such as automotive or aeronautical systems. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to obtain and optimize a safe upper bound of each task’s execution time or the worst-case execution time (WCET), to guarantee the absence of any missed deadline. Unfortunately, conventional microarchitectural components, such as caches and branch predictors, are only optimized for average-case performance and often make WCET analysis complicated and pessimistic. Caches especially have a large impact on the worst-case performance due to expensive off- chip memory accesses involved in cache miss handling. In this regard, software-controlled scratchpad memories (SPMs) have become a promising alternative to caches. An SPM is a raw SRAM, controlled only by executing data movement instructions explicitly at runtime, and such explicit control facilitates static analyses to obtain safe and tight upper bounds of WCETs. SPM management techniques, used in compilers targeting an SPM-based processor, determine how to use a given SPM space by deciding where to insert data movement instructions and what operations to perform at those program locations. This dissertation presents several management techniques for program code and stack data, which aim to optimize the WCETs of a given program. The proposed code management techniques include optimal allocation algorithms and a polynomial-time heuristic for allocating functions to the SPM space, with or without the use of abstraction of SPM regions, and a heuristic for splitting functions into smaller partitions. The proposed stack data management technique, on the other hand, finds an optimal set of program locations to evict and restore stack frames to avoid stack overflows, when the call stack resides in a size-limited SPM. In the evaluation, the WCETs of various benchmarks including real-world automotive applications are statically calculated for SPMs and caches in several different memory configurations.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Compiler and architecture design for coarse-grained programmable accelerators

Description

The holy grail of computer hardware across all market segments has been to sustain performance improvement at the same pace as silicon technology scales. As the technology scales and the

The holy grail of computer hardware across all market segments has been to sustain performance improvement at the same pace as silicon technology scales. As the technology scales and the size of transistors shrinks, the power consumption and energy usage per transistor decrease. On the other hand, the transistor density increases significantly by technology scaling. Due to technology factors, the reduction in power consumption per transistor is not sufficient to offset the increase in power consumption per unit area. Therefore, to improve performance, increasing energy-efficiency must be addressed at all design levels from circuit level to application and algorithm levels.

At architectural level, one promising approach is to populate the system with hardware accelerators each optimized for a specific task. One drawback of hardware accelerators is that they are not programmable. Therefore, their utilization can be low as they perform one specific function. Using software programmable accelerators is an alternative approach to achieve high energy-efficiency and programmability. Due to intrinsic characteristics of software accelerators, they can exploit both instruction level parallelism and data level parallelism.

Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Architecture (CGRA) is a software programmable accelerator consists of a number of word-level functional units. Motivated by promising characteristics of software programmable accelerators, the potentials of CGRAs in future computing platforms is studied and an end-to-end CGRA research framework is developed. This framework consists of three different aspects: CGRA architectural design, integration in a computing system, and CGRA compiler. First, the design and implementation of a CGRA and its instruction set is presented. This design is then modeled in a cycle accurate system simulator. The simulation platform enables us to investigate several problems associated with a CGRA when it is deployed as an accelerator in a computing system. Next, the problem of mapping a compute intensive region of a program to CGRAs is formulated. From this formulation, several efficient algorithms are developed which effectively utilize CGRA scarce resources very well to minimize the running time of input applications. Finally, these mapping algorithms are integrated in a compiler framework to construct a compiler for CGRA

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Date Created
  • 2015