Energy-efficient electrical and silicon-photonic networks in many core systems

by Chao Chen

Institution: Boston University
Year: 2014
Record ID: 2050459
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/10962


During the past decade, the very large scale integration (VLSI) community has migrated towards incorporating multiple cores on a single chip to sustain the historic performance improvement in computing systems. As the core count continuously increases, the performance of network-on-chip (NoC), which is responsible for the communication between cores, caches and memory controllers, is increasingly becoming critical for sustaining the performance improvement. In this dissertation, we propose several methods to improve the energy efficiency of both electrical and silicon-photonic NoCs. Firstly, for electrical NoC, we propose a flow control technique, Express Virtual Channel with Taps (EVC-T), to transmit both broadcast and data packets efficiently in a mesh network. A low-latency notification tree network is included to maintain t he order of broadcast packets. The EVC-T technique improves the NoC latency by 24% and the system energy efficiency in terms of energy-delay product (EDP) by 13%. In the near future, the silicon-photonic links are projected to replace the electrical links for global on-chip communication due to their lower data-dependent power and higher bandwidth density, but the high laser power can more than offset these advantages. Therefore, we propose a silicon-photonic multi-bus NoC architecture and a methodology that can reduce the laser power by 49% on average through bandwidth reconfiguration at runtime based on the variations in bandwidth requirements of applications. We also propose a technique to reduce the laser power by dynamically activating/deactivating the 12 cache banks and switching ON/ OFF the corresponding silicon-photonic links in a crossbar NoC. This cache-reconfiguration based technique can save laser power by 23.8% and improves system EDP by 5.52% on average. In addition, we propose a methodology for placing and sharing on-chip laser sources by jointly considering the bandwidth requirements, thermal constraints and physical layout constraints. Our proposed methodology for placing and sharing of on-chip laser sources reduces laser power. In addition to reducing the laser power to improve the energy efficiency of silicon-photonic NoCs, we propose to leverage the large bandwidth provided by silicon-photonic NoC to share computing resources. The global sharing of floating-point units can save system area by 13.75% and system power by 10%.