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The feasibility of domain specific compilation for spatially programmable architectures

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Integrated circuits must be energy efficient. This efficiency affects all aspects of chip design, from the battery life of embedded devices to thermal heating on high performance servers. As technology

Integrated circuits must be energy efficient. This efficiency affects all aspects of chip design, from the battery life of embedded devices to thermal heating on high performance servers. As technology scaling slows, future generations of transistors will lack the energy efficiency gains as it has had in previous generations. Therefore, other sources of energy efficiency will be much more important. Many computations have the potential to be executed for extreme energy efficiency but are not instigated because the platforms they run on are not optimized for efficient execution. ASICs improve energy efficiency by reducing flexibility and leveraging the properties of a specific computation. However, ASICs are fixed in function and therefore have incredible opportunity cost. FPGAs offer a reconfigurable solution but are 25x less energy efficient than ASIC implementation. Spatially programmable architectures (SPAs) are similar in design and structure to ASICs and FPGAs but are able bridge the ASIC-FPGA energy efficiency gap by trading flexibility for efficiency. However, SPAs are difficult to program because they do not share the same programming model as normal architectures that execute in time. This work addresses compiler challenges for coarse grained, locally interconnected SPA for domain efficiency (SPADE). A novel SPADE topology, called the wave pipeline, is introduced that is designed for the image signal processing domain that is both efficient and simple to compile to. A compiler for the wave pipeline is created that solves for maximum energy and area efficiency using low complexity, greedy methods. The wave pipeline topology and compiler allow for us to investigate and experiment with image signal processing applications to prove the feasibility of SPADE compilers.

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Date Created
  • 2016