doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0276

Mixed Wire and Surface-wave Communication Fabrics for Decentralized On-Chip Multicasting

Ammar Karkar1,2,a,b, Kin-Fai Tong3, Terrence Mak4 and Alex Yakovlev1,c

1School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Newcastle University, UK.

2IT Research Centre, University of Kufa, Iraq

3Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCL, London, UK.

4Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


Network-on-chip (NoC) has emerged to tackle different on-chip challenges and has satisfied different demands in terms of high performance, economical and reliable interconnect implementation. However, a merely metal-based interconnect reaches performance bound with the relentless technology scaling. Especially, it displayed a bottleneck to meet the communication bandwidth demand for multicasting. This paper proposes a novel hybrid architecture, which improves the on-chip communication bandwidth significantly using mixed wires and surface wave interconnects (SWI) fabrics. In particular, the bandwidth of multicasting can be drastically improved. We introduce a decentralized arbitration method to fully utilize the slack-time scheduling with deadlock-free flow control. Evaluation results, based on a cycleaccurate and hardware-based simulation, demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed architecture and methods. Compared to a wire-based NoC, the mixed fabric approach can achieve an improvement in power reduction and communication speed up to 63% and 12X, respectively. These results are achieved with almost negligible hardware overheads. This new paradigm efficiently addresses the emerged challenges for on-chip communications.

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