School of Informatics - University of Edinburgh Institute for Computing Systems Architecture - School of Informatics
Institute for Computing
Systems Architecture

The Smart Cache: An Energy-Efficient Cache Architecture Through Dynamic Cache Adaptation

    Journal Paper -  The Smart Cache: An Energy-Efficient Cache Architecture Through Dynamic Cache Adaptation
  • Type: Journal Paper
  • Authors:
    Karthik T. Sundararajan, Timothy M. Jones, and Nigel P. Topham.
  • International Journal of Parallel Programming (IJPP '12), Volume 41, Issue 2, Special issue of best papers from SAMOS 2011, April 2013.
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  • Abstract:

    The demand for low-power embedded systems requires designers to tune processor parameters to avoid excessive energy wastage. Tuning on a per-application or per-application-phase basis allows a greater saving in energy consumption without a noticeable degradation in performance. On-chip caches often consume a significant fraction of the total energy budget and are therefore prime candidates for adaptation. Fixed-configuration caches must be designed to deliver low average memory access times across a wide range of potential applications. However, this can lead to excessive energy consumption for applications that do not require the full capacity or associativity of the cache at all times. Furthermore, in systems where the clock period is constrained by the access times of level-1 caches, the clock frequency for all applications is effectively limited by the cache requirements of the most demanding phase within the most demanding application. This results in both performance and energy efficiency that represents the lowest common denominator across the applications. In this work we present a Set and way Management cache Architecture for Run-Time reconfiguration (SMART cache), a cache architecture that allows reconfiguration in both its size and associativity. Results show the energy-delay of the Smart cache is on average 70 and 12 % better than the baseline configuration for a two-core and four-core system respectively, with just 2 % away from oracle result and also with an overall performance degradation of less than 2 % compared with a baseline statically-configured cache.