Paper Accepted at DATE 2018

Another paper written with my former colleagues at CISTER has been accepted. The paper is entitled “Mixed-criticality Scheduling with Memory Bandwith Regulation” and appear at DATE 2018. The paper considers the problem that existing schedulability analyses for mixed-criticality multi-core systems do not consider task interference in shared platform resources, such as memories, potentially making them optimistic and unsafe. We address this issue by formulating a schedulability analysis for mixed-criticality fixed-priority-scheduled multi-core systems using per-core memory access regulation. We also propose multiple heuristics for memory bandwidth allocation and task-to-core assignment. The analysis and heuristics are implemented in a tool and evaluated through extensive experiments.

Paper Accepted at SCOPES 2017

Hazem had a paper entitled “Combining Dataflow Applications and Real-time Task Sets on Multi-core Platforms” accepted at the 2017 Workshop on Software and Compilers for Embedded Systems (SCOPES). This paper is a short overview of his PhD dissertation, which will be defended in Porto on May 23, and explains an approach to map and schedule a multi-/many-core system containing both applications described as traditional real-time task sets and synchronous data-flow graphs. Hazem’s approach is to convert the data-flow graph into a periodic real-time task set to unify the models before mapping, which enables him to leverage existing real-time analysis techniques and schedulers. However, converting a complex data-flow graph into a periodic task set may result in a large number of tasks, resulting in long analysis times. To mitigate this problem, he proposes a slack-based merging algorithm that allows the number of tasks to be reduced by carefully sacrificing parallelism in the data-flow graph, subject to its latency and throughput constraints. Lastly, the resulting unified real-time task set is mapped to a multi-/many-core platform interconnected by a TDM NoC using a sensitive-path-first algorithm, which first allocates tasks derived from the original data-flow graph that have the highest impact on its execution and schedulability. It is also able to exploit parallelism in graph during mapping.

We hope you enjoy the paper and wish Hazem all the best for his upcoming defense.

Manil Dev Gomony Successfully Defends PhD Thesis!

Today, Manil Dev Gomony has successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled “Scalable and Bandwidth-Efficient Memory Subsystem Design for Real-Time Systems“. The thesis proposes an architecture for a real-time memory subsystem that scales well in terms of area and maximum synthesizable frequency with an increasing number of memory clients. This subsystem architecture comprises a memory interconnect called Globally Arbitrated Memory Tree (GAMT) a Multi-Channel Memory Controller (MCMC), as well as a technique to couple those components and have a single point of arbitration for both resources. The thesis also proposes a design flow for automatically choosing the memory device, mapping clients to memory channel, and configure arbiters to satisfy client requirements.

Among Manil’s achievements, we specifically highlight two achievements with respect to publishing. First of all, he had a paper accepted at the DATE conference every year during his PhD. Secondly, none of his publications were ever rejected anywhere. This shows that Manil managed to publish in competitive forums in his field and that his work was well-received. Currently, Manil works as a Researcher at Bell Laboratories of Alcatel-Lucent in Belgium. We wish him the best of luck in his future career!

Back in Prague

I am now back from my two month research visit at Airbus Group Innovations. During my stay, I primarily worked on two things:

  1. Performance analysis of memory accesses in two COTS multi-core platforms. My work extended existing analysis to include the configuration of the memory controller. In particular, the existing setup was improved to enable evaluation of rank-level parallelism within a memory controller, channel parallelism between memory controllers, and different mapping options of cores to memory channels.
  2. I familiarized myself with the certification process for the avionics domain by reading and discussing key standardization documents, e.g. DO-178C for software certification, DO-254 for hardware certification, and DO-297 for integrated modular avionics. I also read several position papers from the Certification Authorities Software Team, most importantly about partitioning guidelines and certification of dual-core platforms. Lastly, I read the ARINC 653 standard, which details the application interface commonly used in avionics systems.

Thanks to Jan Nowotsch and Stefan Schneele for making the visit possible and to my office mates for providing a fun environment to work and learn in.

Article in ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems (TECS)

Manil Dev Gomony just had his first journal article accepted in ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems. The article is entitled “A Real-Time Multi-Channel Memory Controller and Optimal Mapping of Memory Clients to Memory Channels” and is an extension of his DATE paper from 2013, which was the first paper to provide architectures and techniques for multi-channel memory controllers in real-time systems.

The two main contributions of the article are: 1) A configurable real-time multi-channel memory controller architecture with a novel method for logical-to-physical address translation. 2) Two design-time methods to map memory clients to the memory channels, one an optimal algorithm based on an integer programming formulation of the mapping problem, and the other a fast heuristic algorithm. The mapping algorithms are experimentally evaluated, showing benefits over two state-of-the-art mapping algorithms. Finally, a case study is presented that demonstrates how to configure a Wide IO DRAM in a High-Definition (HD) video and graphics processing system to emphasize the practical applicability and effectiveness of the work.

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.

Paper Accepted at RTCSA 2013

Today, we congratulate Hazem Ali for having his first paper accepted at RTCSA. The paper is entitled “Critical-Path-First Based Allocation of Real-Time Streaming Applications on 2D Mesh-Type Multi-Cores” and proposes a mapping strategy for streaming applications, represented as acyclic data-flow graphs with throughput requirements, to multi-core architectures under partitioned EDF scheduling. The key idea is to first map tasks on the critical-paths of the application to minimize their execution time and thereby increasing the chance to satisfy the throughput constraint. The camera-ready version is available here.

Hazem Ali is a PhD student at the CISTER-ISEP Research Unit in Porto, supervised by Luis Miguel Pinho and myself, and this paper is a result of my six month visit there last year and the fruitful collaboration it has resulted in afterwards.

Article about Variation-aware Mapping Accepted by ACM TECS

ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems (TECS) just accepted our article “Process-Variation Aware Mapping of Best-Effort and Real-Time Streaming Applications to MPSoCs”. This work discusses how to efficiently map streaming applications, represented as synchronous data-flow graphs, with different types of real-time requirements to multi-processor systems affected by process variation (maximum frequencies of each processor follows a statistical distribution). The main goal is to map the tasks of the applications to the system in such a way that the probability of satisfying the real-time requirements of the applications is maximized. This work is an extension of the conference paper “Process-Variation Aware Mapping of Real-Time Streaming Applications to MPSoCs for Improved Yield”, presented at ISQED in 2012. The camera-ready version is available here.