Power Optimization of Variable Voltage Core-Based Systems

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I. Hong, D. Kirovski, G. Qu, M. Potkonjak, and M. Srivastava, "Power Optimization of Variable Voltage Core-Based Systems," IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, Vol. 18, No. 12, pp. 1702-1714, December 1999.



The growing class of portable systems, such as personal computing and communication devices, has resulted in a new set of system design requirements, mainly characterized by dominant importance of power minimization and design reuse. The energy efficiency of systems-on-a-chip (SOC) could be much improved if one were to vary the supply voltage dynamically at run time. We develop the design methodology for the lowpower core-based real-time SOC based on dynamically variable voltage hardware. The key challenge is to develop effective scheduling techniques that treat voltage as a variable to be determined, in addition to the conventional task scheduling and allocation. Our synthesis technique also addresses the selection of the processor core and the determination of the instruction and data cache size and configuration so as to fully exploit dynamically variable voltage hardware, which results in significantly lower power consumption for a set of target applications than existing techniques. The highlight of the proposed approach is the nonpreemptive scheduling heuristic, which results in solutions very close to optimal ones for many test cases. The effectiveness of the approach is demonstrated on a variety of modern industrial strength multimedia and communication applications.