doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0246

Workload Uncertainty Characterization and Adaptive Frequency Scaling for Energy Minimization of Embedded Systems

Anup Das1,2,a,b, Akash Kumar2,f, Bharadwaj Veeravalli2,g, Rishad Shafik1,c, Geoff Merrett1,d and Bashir Al-Hashimi1,e

1School of ECS, University of Southampton, UK.

2Department of ECE, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


A primary design optimization objective for multicore embedded systems is to minimize the energy consumption of applications while satisfying their performance requirement. A system-level approach to this problem is to scale the frequency of the processing cores based on the readings obtained from the hardware performance monitors. However, performance monitor readings contain uncertainty, which becomes prominent when applications are executed in a multicore environment. This uncertainty can be attributed to factors such as cache contention and DRAM access time, that are very difficult to predict dynamically. We demonstrate that such uncertainty can be controlled to make better decision on the processor frequency in order to minimize energy consumption. To achieve this, we propose a multinomial logistic regression model, which combines probabilistic interpretation with maximum likelihood (ML) estimation to classify an incoming workload, at run-time, into a finite set of classes. Every workload class corresponds to a frequency pre-determined using an appropriate training set and results in minimum energy consumption. The classifier incorporates (1) uncertainty with arbitrary probability distribution to estimate the actual frame workload; and (2) the frequency switching overhead, neither of which are considered in any of the existing approaches. The classified frequency is applied on the processing cores to execute the workload. The proposed approach is engineered into an embedded multicore system and is validated with a set of standard multimedia applications. Results demonstrate that the proposed approach minimizes energy consumption by an average 20% as compared to the existing techniques.

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