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A new mechanism to deal with process variability in NoC links

Research Area: Network-On-Chip Year: 2009
Type of Publication: In Proceedings Keywords: Bandwidth;Distributed parameter networks;Electric network topology;Machine design;Nanotechnology;Radar antennas;
Authors:
Book title: IPDPS 2009 - Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium
Pages: IEEE Computer Societ
Address: Rome, Italy
Note:
Available bandwidth;Clock frequency;Design frequencies;Fabrication process;High variability;Ideal network;In-process;Maximum frequency;Network on chip;New mechanisms;Operating frequency;Performance evaluation;Performance penalties;Process Variability;Silicon devices;Trivial solutions;VLSI technology;
Abstract:
Associated with the ever growing integration scale of VLSI technologies is the increase in process variability, which makes silicon devices to become less predictable. In the context of network-on-chip (NoC), this variability affects the maximum frequency that could be sustained by each wire of the link that interconnects two cores in a CMP system. Reducing the clock frequency so that all wires can properly work is a trivial solution but, as variability increases, this approach causes an unacceptable performance penalty. In this paper, we propose a new technique to deal with the effects of variability on the links of the NoC that interconnects cores in a CMP system. This technique, called Phit Reduction (PR), retrieves most of the bandwidth still available in links containing wires that are not able to operate at the designed operating frequency. More precisely, our mechanism discards these slow wires and uses all the wires that can work at the design frequency. Two implementations are presented: Local Phit Reduction (LPR), oriented to fabrication processes with very high variability, which requires more hardware but provides higher performance; and Global Phit Reduction (GPR), that requires less additional hardware but is not able to extract all the available bandwidth. The performance evaluation presented in the paper confirms that LPR obtains good results both for low and high variability scenarios. Moreover, in most of our experiments LPR practically achieves the same performance than the ideal network. On the other hand, GPR is appropriate for systems where whithin-die variations are expected to be low. © 2009 IEEE.
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