System Synthesis for Embedded Multiprocessors

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2006-04-26

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Modern embedded systems must increasingly accommodate dynamically changing operating environments, high computational requirements, and tight time-to-market windows. Such trends and the ever-increasing design complexity of embedded systems have challenged designers to raise the level of abstraction and replace traditional ad-hoc approaches with more efficient synthesis techniques. Additionally, since embedded multiprocessor systems are typically designed as final implementations for dedicated functions, modifications to embedded system implementations are rare, and this allows embedded system designers to spend significantly larger amounts of time to optimize the architecture and the employed software. This dissertation presents several system-level synthesis algorithms that employ time-intensive optimization techniques that allow the designer to explore a significantly larger part of the design space. It looks at critical issues that are at the core of the synthesis process --- selecting the architecture, partitioning the functionality over the components of the architecture, and scheduling activities such that design constraints and optimization objectives are satisfied.

More specifically for the scheduling step, a new solution to the two-step multiprocessor scheduling problem is proposed. For the first step of clustering a highly efficient genetic algorithm is proposed. Several techniques for the second step of merging are proposed and finally a complete two-step effective solution is presented. Also, a randomization technique is applied to existing deterministic techniques to extend these techniques so that they can utilize arbitrary increases in available optimization time. This novel framework for extending deterministic algorithms in our context allows for accurate and fair comparison of our techniques against the state of the art.

To further generalize the proposed clustering-based scheduling approach, a complementary two-step multiprocessor scheduling approach for heterogeneous multiprocessor systems is presented. This work is amongst the first works that formally studies the application of clustering to heterogeneous system scheduling. Several techniques are proposed and compared and conclusive results are presented.

A modular system-level synthesis framework is then proposed. It synthesizes multi-mode, multi-task embedded systems under a number of hard constraints; optimizes a comprehensive set of objectives; and provides a set of alternative trade-off points in a given multi-objective design evaluation space. An extension of the framework is proposed to better address DVS, memory optimization, and efficient mappings onto dynamically reconfigurable hardware.

An integrated framework for energy-driven scheduling onto embedded multiprocessor systems is proposed. It employs a solution representation that encodes both task assignment and ordering into a single chromosome and hence significantly reduces the search space and problem complexity. It is shown that a task assignment and scheduling that result in better performance do not necessarily save power, and hence, integrating task scheduling and voltage scheduling is crucial for fully exploiting the energy-saving potential of an embedded multiprocessor implementation.

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