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Journal Articles Microprocessors and Microsystems: Embedded Hardware Design Year : 2022

Dynamic fault-tolerant VLIW processor with heterogeneous Function Units

Abstract

Instruction Level Parallelism (ILP) of applications is typically limited and variant in time, thus during application execution some processor Function Units (FUs) may not be used all the time. Therefore, these idle FUs can be used to execute replicated instructions, improving reliability. However, existing approaches either schedule the execution of replicated instructions based on compiler schedule or consider processors with identical FUs, able to execute any instruction type. The former approach has a negative impact on performance, whereas the later approach is not applicable on processors with heterogeneous FUs. This work presents a hardware mechanism for processors with heterogeneous FUs that dynamically replicates instructions and schedules both original and replicated instructions considering space and time scheduling. The proposed approach uses a small scheduling window of two cycles, leading to a hardware mechanism with small hardware area. In order to perform such a flexible dynamic instruction scheduling, switches are required, which, however, increase the hardware area. To reduce the area overhead, a cluster-based approach is proposed, enabling scalability for larger hardware designs. The proposed mechanism is implemented on VEX VLIW processor. The obtained results show an average speed-up of 24.99% in performance with an almost 10% area and power overhead, when time scheduling is also considered on top of space scheduling. Compared to the unprotected version, the instruction reliability has increased by 2.2×.
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hal-03885490 , version 1 (06-12-2022)

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Rafail Psiakis, Angeliki Kritikakou, Olivier Sentieys. Dynamic fault-tolerant VLIW processor with heterogeneous Function Units. Microprocessors and Microsystems: Embedded Hardware Design , 2022, 93, pp.104564. ⟨10.1016/j.micpro.2022.104564⟩. ⟨hal-03885490⟩
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