Voltage Regulator Efficiency Aware Power Management

Yuxin Bai, Victor W. Lee, Engin Ipek
2017 SIGPLAN notices  
Conventional off-chip voltage regulators are typically bulky and slow, and are inefficient at exploiting system and workload variability using Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS). On-die integration of voltage regulators has the potential to increase the energy efficiency of computer systems by enabling power control at a fine granularity in both space and time. The energy conversion efficiency of on-chip regulators, however, is typically much lower than off-chip regulators, which
more » ... ts in significant energy losses. Finegrained power control and high voltage regulator efficiency are difficult to achieve simultaneously, with either emerging on-chip or conventional off-chip regulators. A voltage conversion framework that relies on a hierarchy of off-chip switching regulators and on-chip linear regulators is proposed to enable fine-grained power control with a regulator efficiency greater than 90%. A DVFS control policy that is based on a reinforcement learning (RL) approach is developed to exploit the proposed framework. Percore RL agents learn and improve their control policies independently, while retaining the ability to coordinate their actions to accomplish system level power management objectives. When evaluated on a mix of 14 parallel and 13 multiprogrammed workloads, the proposed voltage conversion framework achieves 18% greater energy efficiency than a conventional framework that uses on-chip switching regulators. Moreover, when the RL based DVFS control policy is used to control the proposed voltage conversion framework, the system achieves a 21% higher energy efficiency over a baseline oracle policy with coarse-grained power control capability.
doi:10.1145/3093336.3037717 fatcat:j7bxxlybmrdkbbptoiwkkm5jbu