Adaptive Coarse-grain Reconfigurable Protocol Processing Architecture

University dissertation from Stockholm, Sweden : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Digital signal processors and their variants have provided significant benefit to efficient implementation of Physical Layer (PHY) of Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model’s seven-layer protocol processing stack compared to the general purpose processors. Protocol processors promise to provide a similar advantage for implementing higher layers in the (OSI)'s seven-layer model. This thesis addresses the problem of designing customizable coarse-grain reconfigurable protocol processing fabrics as a solution to achieving high performance and computational efficiency. A key requirement that this thesis addresses is the ability to not only adapt to varying applications and standards, and different modes in each standard but also to time varying load and performance demands while maintaining quality of service.This thesis presents a tile-based multicore protocol processing architecture that can be customized at design time to meet the requirements of the target application. The architecture can then be reconfigured at boot time and tuned to suit the desired use-case. This architecture includes a packet-oriented memory system that has deterministic access time and access energy costs, and hence can be accurately dimensioned to fulfill the requirements of the desired use-case. Moreover, to maintain quality of service as predicted, while minimizing the use of energy and resources, this architecture encompasses an elastic management scheme that controls run-time configuration to deploy processing resources based on use-case and traffic demands.To evaluate the architecture presented in this thesis, different case studies were conducted while quantitative and qualitative metrics were used for assessment. Energy-delay product, energy efficiency, area efficiency and throughput show the improvements that were achieved using the processing cores and the memory of the presented architecture, compared with other solutions. Furthermore, the results show the reduction in latency and power consumption required to evaluate controlling states when using the elastic management scheme. The elasticity of the scheme also resulted in reducing the total area required for the controllers that serve multiple processing cores in comparison with other designs. Finally, the results validate the ability of the presented architecture to support quality of service without misutilizing available energy during a real-life case study of a multi-participant Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) call.