VERVE: A Framework for Variation-Aware Energy Efficient Synthesis of NoC-based MPSoCs with Voltage islands

Nishit Kapadia and Sudeep Pasricha
Colorado State University


With feature sizes far below the wavelength of light, variations in fabrication processes are becoming more common and can lead to unpredictable behavior in modern multiprocessor system-on-chip (MPSoC) designs. The design costs associated with margining required to overcome this unpredictability can be prohibitively high. System-level design approaches that are aware of these variations can be crucial for designing energy-efficient systems. We note that by performing voltage island placement appropriately, the two major unintended consequences of variations on the circuit characteristics (altered delay and power dissipation) can be traded-off, in order to minimize overall system energy. To this end, we propose a novel design-time system-level synthesis framework that is cognizant of process variations while mapping cores operating at specific supply voltages to a die and allocating communication routes on a 2D-mesh network-on-chip (NoC) topology for optimal energy-efficiency. Our framework results in 3.4% savings in computation energy and 19% savings in communication energy compared to the best known prior work on NoC-based MPSoC synthesis that considers process variations.