Mitigating the Effects of Process Variation in Ultra-low Voltage Chip Multiprocessors using Dual Supply Voltages and Half-Speed Units
Issue No. 02 - July-Dec. (2012 vol. 11)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/L-CA.2011.36
Timothy N. Miller , The Ohio State University, Columbus
Renji Thomas , The Ohio State University, Columbus
Radu Teodorescu , The Ohio State University, Columbus
Energy efficiency is a primary concern for microprocessor designers. One very effective approach to improving processor energy efficiency is to lower its supply voltage to very near to the transistor threshold voltage. This reduces power consumption dramatically, improving energy efficiency by an order of magnitude. Low voltage operation, however, increases the effects of parameter variation resulting in significant frequency heterogeneity between (and within) otherwise identical cores. This heterogeneity severely limits the maximum frequency of the entire CMP. We present a combination of techniques aimed at reducing the effects of variation on the performance and energy efficiency of near-threshold, many-core CMPs. Dual Voltage Rail (DVR), mitigates core-to-core variation with a dual-rail power delivery system that allows post-manufacturing assignment of different supply voltages to individual cores. This speeds up slow cores by assigning them to a higher voltage and saves power on fast cores by assigning them to a lower voltage. Half-Speed Unit (HSU) mitigates within-core variation by halving the frequency of select functional blocks with the goal of boosting the frequency of individual cores, thus raising the frequency ceiling for the entire CMP. Together, these variation-reduction techniques result in almost 50% improvement in CMP performance for the same power consumption over a mix of workloads.
Energy efficiency, Power demand, Computer architecture, Threshold voltage, Multiprocessing systems, Benchmark testing, process variation, Rails, Power demand, Computer architecture, Threshold voltage, Clocks, Delay, Benchmark testing, chip multiprocessors, Energy efficiency, near-threshold voltage
R. Thomas, R. Teodorescu and T. N. Miller, "Mitigating the Effects of Process Variation in Ultra-low Voltage Chip Multiprocessors using Dual Supply Voltages and Half-Speed Units," in IEEE Computer Architecture Letters, vol. 11, no. , pp. 45-48, 2012.