An Event-Guided Approach to Handling Inductive Noise in Processors


M. S. Gupta, V. J. Reddi, M. D. Smith, G. - Y. Wei, and D. M. Brooks, “An Event-Guided Approach to Handling Inductive Noise in Processors,” in Design, Automation, and Test in Europe Conference (DATE-09), Nice, France, 2009.


Supply voltage fluctuations that result from inductive noise are increasingly troublesome in modern microprocessors. A voltage “emergency”, i.e., a swing beyond tolerable operating margins, jeopardizes the safe and correct operation of the processor. Techniques aimed at reducing power consumption, e.g., by clock gating or by reducing nominal supply voltage, exacerbate this noise problem, requiring ever-wider operating margins. We propose an event-guided, adaptive method for avoiding voltage emergencies, which exploits the fact that most emergencies are correlated with unique microarchitectural events, such as cache misses or the pipeline flushes that follow branch mispredictions. Using checkpoint and rollback to handle unavoidable emergencies, our method adapts dynamically by learning to trigger avoidance mechanisms when emergency-prone events recur. After tightening supply voltage margins to increase clock frequency and accounting for all costs, the net result is a performance improvement of 8% across a suite of fifteen SPEC CPU2000 benchmarks.

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Last updated on 06/08/2021