ACM TECS Accepts Another Journal Article

ACM Transaction of Embedded Computing Systems (TECS) recently informed us that our article “Maximizing the Number of Good Dies for Streaming Applications in NoC-based MPSoCs under Process Variation” has been accepted for publication. This work nicely summarizes the dissertation of Davit Mirzoyan from his four year PhD studies at Delft University of Technology under the supervision of Kees Goossens and myself.

The article addresses design of real-time systems for streaming applications constrained by a throughput requirement with reduced design margins, referred to as better than worst-case design. The first contribution is a complete modeling framework that captures a streaming application mapped to a NoC-based multiprocessor system with voltage-frequency islands under process-induced die-to-die and within-die frequency variations. The framework is used to analyze the impact of variations in the frequency of hardware components on application throughput at the system level. The second contribution is a methodology to use the proposed framework and estimate the impact of reducing circuit design margins on the number of good dies that satisfy the throughput requirement of a real-time streaming application. It is shown on both synthetic and real applications that the proposed design approach can increase the number of good dies by up to 9.6% and 18.8% for designs with and without fixed SRAM and IO blocks, respectively.

First PhD Student Graduates From the Memory Team

Today, Karthik Chandrasekar was promoted to doctor as he confidently defended his PhD thesis “High-Level Power Estimation and Optimization of DRAMs”. The thesis proposes a high-level power estimation tool called DRAMPowerthat estimates the power and energy consumption of different generations of DRAMs based on a memory command trace and current values from the memory datasheet. Since current numbers in datasheets are often pessimistic for a majority of the manufactured memory devices, a methodology is also proposed to characterize DRAM modules post-manufacturing to achieve more accurate power and performance estimates for the characterized devices. Lastly, the thesis discusses power optimization in the context of real-time memory controllers and proposes two power-down strategies to reduce the power consumption of memories in real-time systems without sacrificing worst-case performance.

The defense went very well and the committee was particularly pleased with how the DRAMPower tool was verified using measurements on real hardware and how it has attracted interest from industry. Karthik is the first PhD student to graduate from the Memory Team and the rest of the team wishes him all the best for his future career at Nvidia.

Davit Mirzoyan Successfully Defends PhD Thesis!

On this day, Davit Mirzoyan confidently defended his PhD thesis, earning the right to call himself a doctor. The thesis is entitled Better than Worst-Case Design for Streaming Applications under Process Variation and discusses how process variation during chip manufacturing can be exploited during application mapping and voltage-frequency island partitioning to increase the number of chips that satisfy the real-time requirements of the application. The work is very interesting, as it captures how variation in transistor parameters affect application performance, thus tying together the lowest and the highest levels of system design.

An interesting fact is that due to circumstances beyond Davits control, he had to write his thesis and send it off to the committee in only two months, something most people would not be able to do, yet he delivered a nice piece of work that was referred to as a ‘very smooth read’ by the committee. As Davits co-promotor, I am very proud of his achievement and I have very much enjoyed working with him during the past four years. I wish him the best of luck in his future career.