IEEE Transactions on Computers

IEEE Transactions on Computers (TC) is a monthly publication that publishes research in such areas as computer organizations and architectures, digital devices, operating systems, and new and important applications and trends.


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From the January 2017 issue

Thermal Safe Power (TSP): Efficient Power Budgeting for Heterogeneous Manycore Systems in Dark Silicon

By Santiago Pagani, Heba Khdr, Jian-Jia Chen, Muhammad Shafique, Minming Li, and Jorg Henkel

Featured article thumbnail imageChip manufacturers provide the Thermal Design Power (TDP) for a specific chip. The cooling solution is designed to dissipate this power level. But because TDP is not necessarily the maximum power that can be applied, chips are operated with Dynamic Thermal Management (DTM) techniques. To avoid excessive triggers of DTM, usually, system designers also use TDP as power constraint. However, using a single and constant value as power constraint, e.g., TDP, can result in significant performance losses in homogeneous and heterogeneous manycore systems. Having better power budgeting techniques is a major step towards dealing with the dark silicon problem. This paper presents a new power budget concept, called Thermal Safe Power (TSP), which is an abstraction that provides safe power and power density constraints as a function of the number of simultaneously active cores. Executing cores at any power consumption below TSP ensures that DTM is not triggered. TSP can be computed offline for the worst cases, or online for a particular mapping of cores. TSP can also serve as a fundamental tool for guiding task partitioning and core mapping decisions, specially when core heterogeneity or timing guarantees are involved. Moreover, TSP results in dark silicon estimations which are less pessimistic than estimations using constant power budgets.

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