Technical Report Number
Applications for constrained embedded systems are subject to strict runtime and resource utilization bounds. With soft core processors, application developers can customize the processor for their application, constrained by available hardware resources but aimed at high application performance. The more reconfigurable the processor is, the more options the application developers will have for customization and hence increased potential for improving application performance. However, such customization entails developing in-depth familiarity with all the parameters, in order to configure them effectively. This is typically infeasible, given the tight time-to-market pressure on the developers. Alternatively, developers could explore all possible configurations, but being exponential, this is infeasible even given only tens of parameters. This thesis presents an approach based on an assumption of parameter independence, for automatic microarchitecture customization. This approach is linear with the number of parameter values and hence, feasible and scalable. For the dimensions that we customize, namely application runtime and hardware resources, we formulate their costs as a constrained binary integer nonlinear optimization program. Though the results are not guaranteed to be optimal, we find they are near-optimal in practice. Our technique itself is general and can be applied to other design-space exploration problems.
Padmanabhan, Shobana, " Automatic Application-Specific Customization of Softcore Processor Microarchitecture, Masters Thesis, May 2006" Report Number: WUCSE-2006-10 (2006). All Computer Science and Engineering Research.