VRSync: Characterizing and eliminating synchronization-induced voltage emergencies in many-core processors

Timothy N. Miller, Renji Thomas, Xiang Pan, Radu Teodorescu
2012 2012 39th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA)  
Power consumption is a primary concern for microprocessor designers. Lowering the supply voltage of processors is one of the most effective techniques for improving their energy efficiency. Unfortunately, low-voltage operation faces multiple challenges going forward. One such challenge is increased sensitivity to voltage fluctuations, which can trigger so-called "voltage emergencies" that can lead to errors. These fluctuations are caused by abrupt changes in power demand, triggered by processor
more » ... activity variation as a function of workload. This paper examines the effects of voltage fluctuations on future many-core processors. With the increase in the number of cores in a chip, the effects of chip-wide activity fluctuation -such as that caused by global synchronization in multithreaded applications -overshadow the effects of core-level workload variability. Starting from this observation, we developed VRSync, a novel synchronization methodology that uses emergency-aware scheduling policies that reduce the slope of load fluctuations, eliminating emergencies. We show that VRSync is very effective at eliminating emergencies, allowing voltage guardbands to be significantly lowered, which reduces energy consumption by an average of 33%.
doi:10.1109/isca.2012.6237022 dblp:conf/isca/MillerTPT12 fatcat:gsoefknjuzeurcljr3ic4jspsq