doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0944

A Hybrid Packet/Circuit-switched Router to Accelerate Memory Access in NoC-based Chip Multiprocessors

Abbas Mazloumi1,a and Mehdi Modarressi1,2,b

1School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2School of Computer Science, Institute for Researches in Fundamental Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Modern chip multiprocessors will feature a large shared last-level cache (LLC) that is decomposed into smaller slices and physically distributed throughout the chip area. These architectures rely on a network-on-chip (NoC) to handle remote cache access and hence, NoCs play a critical role in optimizing memory access latency and power consumption. Circuitswitching is the most power- and performance-efficient switching mechanism in NoCs, but is not advantageous when the packet transmission time is not long enough compared to the circuit setup time. In this paper, we propose a zero-latency circuit setup scheme to make circuit-switching applicable in transferring individual data packets. The design leverages the fact that in CMPs with distributed LLC (where a considerable portion of the on-chip traffic is composed of remote LLC access requests and data responses), every response packet is sent in reply to a request packet and traverses the same path as its corresponding request, but at the backward direction. The short request packets, then, are responsible to reserve a path for their corresponding response packets. This NoC tries to reduce conflict among circuit paths by considering conflicts in backward direction during request packet routing, backed by a run-time technique to resolve conflicts when circuits are actually set up. Experimental results show that the proposed NoC architecture considerably reduces average packet latency that directly translates to faster memory access.

Keywords: Network-on-chip, Circuit-switching, Chip-multiprocessor, Memory-access.

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