MODELING AND OPTIMIZATION TECHNIQUES FOR EFFICIENT IMPLEMENTATION OF PARALLEL EMBEDDED SYSTEMS
Bhattacharyya, Shuvra S
Levine, William S
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Embedded systems are becoming more and more important. The products containing embedded systems span from day-to-day household and consumer products, such as digital TVs, mobile phones, and automobiles, to industrial devices and equipment, including, for example, robots, aviation equipment, and high end military and scientific devices such as aircraft. Previously, because embedded systems were highly limited in computational capability, memory size, and power consumption, much research was dedicated to making the best use of limited system resources. In these works, system performance issues, such as execution time, were traded off with system resources, and resources were carefully scheduled and utilized. With more available computational capability in embedded system devices, and more complicated requirements demanding more intensive computation, the most critical design concerns are changing in some important application domains. In such application areas, researchers are paying more and more attention to improving system execution time, which is also the core topic of our work. Execution time is especially critical to real time systems, in the sense that it is related not only to system performance, but also to system correctness and reliability. Multi-core devices, which incorporate two or more processors on the same integrated circuits, are becoming increasingly relevant to the design and implementation of embedded systems. In multi-core platforms, carefully managing communication and synchronization among different cores is important to achieve efficient implementations. Two or more processing cores sharing the same system bus and memory bandwidth limit the achievable performance improvements. The ability of multi-core processors to increase application performance depends on the use of multiple concurrent tasks within applications. Therefore, if code is written in a form that facilitates decomposition into concurrent tasks, the multi-core technologies can be exploited more effectively. Dataflow-based languages are suitable for such decomposition into concurrent tasks, particularly in the broad domain of digital signal processing (DSP) applications. Dataflow representations of DSP software have been explored actively since the 1980s. Such representations have proved to be useful in identifying bottlenecks in DSP algorithms, improving the efficiency of the computations, and designing appropriate hardware for implementing the algorithms. Dataflow descriptions have been used in a wide range of DSP application areas, such as multimedia processing, and wireless communications. Among various forms of dataflow modeling, synchronous dataflow (SDF) is geared towards static scheduling of computational modules, which improves system performance and predictability. However, many DSP applications do not fully conform to the restrictions of SDF modeling. More general dataflow models, such as CAL, have been developed to describe dynamically-structured DSP applications. Such generalized models can express dynamically changing functionality, but lose the powerful static scheduling capabilities provided by SDF. This thesis explores modeling and optimization techniques for efficient implementation of parallel embedded systems. We propose a dataflow based framework, which covers modeling, analysis and optimization and bridges between user-friendly design and efficient implementation. The framework is applied to two kinds of applications: control systems and video processing systems. Model Predictive Control (MPC) has been used in a wide range of application areas including chemical engineering, food processing, automotive engineering, aerospace, and metallurgy. An important limitation on the application of MPC is the difficulty in completing the necessary computations within the sampling interval. Recent trends in computing hardware towards greatly increased parallelism offer a solution to this problem. Our work describes modeling and analysis tools to facilitate implementing MPC algorithms on parallel computers, thereby greatly reducing the time needed to complete the calculations. The use of these tools is illustrated by an application to the critical components of an important class of MPC problems, including the Newton-KKT algorithm, the active set method and linear system solvers. This thesis also presents an in-depth case study of dataflow-based analysis and exploitation of parallelism in the design and implementation of an MPEG RVC (reconfigurable video coding) decoder. Because dataflow models are effective in exposing concurrency and other important forms of high level application structure, dataflow techniques are promising for implementing complex DSP applications on multi-core systems, and other kinds of parallel processing platforms. Targeting video processing systems, we use the CAL language as a concrete framework for representing and demonstrating dataflow design techniques. Furthermore, we also analyze our application of the DIF package (TDP), which helps to automatically process regions that are extracted from the original network, and exhibit properties similar to synchronous dataflow (SDF) models. Detection of SDF-like regions is an important step for applying static scheduling techniques within a dynamic dataflow framework. Furthermore, segmenting a system into SDF-like regions also allows us to explore cross-actor concurrency that results from dynamic dependencies among different regions. Using SDF-like region detection as a preprocessing step to software synthesis generally provides an efficient way for mapping tasks to multi-core systems, and improves the system performance of video processing applications on multi-core platforms. Finally the automation from system design to efficient implementation helps our dataflow based modeling and optimization techniques extend into a wide range of embedded applications.