Memory Allocation for Embedded Systems with a Compile-Time-Unknown Scratch-Pad Size

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2007-05-07

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This paper presents the first memory allocation scheme for embedded systems having a scratch-pad memory(SPM) whose size is unknown at compile-time. All existing memory allocation schemes for SPM require the SPM size to be known at compile-time; therefore tie the resulting executable to that size of SPM and not portable to other platforms having different SPM sizes. As size-portable code is valuable in systems supporting downloaded codes, our work presents a compiler method whose esulting executable is portable across SPMs of any size.

Our technique is to employ a customized installer software, which decides the SPM allocation just before the program's first run, then modifies the program executable accordingly to implement the decided SPM allocation. Results show that our benchmarks average a 41% speedup versus an all-DRAM allocation, with overheads of 1.5% in code-size, 2% in run-time, and 3% in compile-time for our benchmarks. Meanwhile, an unrealistic upper-bound is approximated only slightly faster at 45% better than all-DRAM.

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