Automatic Generation of Peak-Power Traffic for Networks-on-Chip
SourceIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
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Early estimation of the peak power consumption of a system under development is crucial in assessing the design's thermal profile and reliability, and in benchmarking the chip-level power management features. In this paper, we present a high-level systematic methodology for generating the appropriate traffic patterns that trigger the peak power consumption in a network-on-chip (NoC), irrespective of the latter's structural and functional properties. The generation of peak-power traffic is performed by solving a novel optimization problem based on integer linear programming, which models the traffic that can realistically flow in the network, thus avoiding any fake and pessimistic scenarios. This formulation can handle arbitrary network configurations and routing algorithms, including heterogeneous network topologies with multiple link widths and voltage/clock domains. The proposed technique maximizes both the network utilization and the data switching activity, thereby causing, on average, 4× higher power consumption than synthetic traffic patterns with random behavior. Most importantly, the proposed method reveals the realistic ceiling of the NoC's peak power consumption, by reporting significantly lower peak power (3× less), as compared to fake worst-case scenarios that can never, in fact, occur during the NoC's normal operation.