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MAX: A Multi Objective Memory Architecture eXploration Framework for Embedded Systems-on-Chip

Proceedings of the International Conference on VLSI Design (VLSI-07)
Bangalore, India, January 2007


  1. T. S. Rajesh Kumar, Texas Instruments India Ltd.
  2. C. P. Ravi Kumar, Texas Instruments India Ltd.
  3. R. Govindarajan, Supercomputer Education and Research Centre; Department of Computer Science and Automation


Today's feature-rich multimedia products require embedded system solution with complex System-on-Chip (SoC) to meet market expectations of high performance at a low cost and lower energy consumption. The memory architecture of the embedded system strongly influences these parameters. Hence the embedded system designer performs a complete memory architecture exploration. This problem is a multi-objective optimization problem and can be tackled as a two-level optimization problem. The outer level explores various memory architecture while the inner level explores placement of data sections (data layout problem) to minimize memory stalls. Further, the designer would be interested in multiple optimal design points to address various market segments. However, tight time-to-market constraints enforces short design cycle time. In this paper we address the multi-level multi-objective memory architecture exploration problem through a combination of Multi-objective Genetic Algorithm (Memory Architecture exploration) and an efficient heuristic data placement algorithm. At the outer level the memory architecture exploration is done by picking memory modules directly from a ASIC memory Library. This helps in performing the memory architecture exploration in a integrated framework, where the memory allocation, memory exploration and data layout works in a tightly coupled way to yield optimal design points with respect to area, power and performance. We experimented our approach for 3 embedded applications and our approach explores several thousand memory architecture for each application, yielding a few hundred optimal design points in a few hours of computation time on a standard desktop.


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