E. Sotiriou-Xanthopoulos, S. Xydis, K. Siozios, G. Economakos and D. Soudris, "An Integrated Exploration and Virtual Platform Framework for Many-Accelerator Heterogeneous Systems", ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems (TECS), Vol. 15, No. 3, Article 43, 26 pages, March 2016.
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The recent advent of many-accelerator systems-on-chip (SoC), driven by the need for maximizing throughput and power efficiency, has led to an exponential increase in the hardware/software co-design complexity. The reason of this increase is that the designer has to explore a vast number of architectural parameter combinations for each single accelerator, as well as inter-accelerator configuration combinations under specific area, throughput, and power constraints, given that each accelerator has different computational requirements. In such a case, the design space size explodes. Thus, existing design space exploration (DSE) techniques give poor-quality solutions, as the design space cannot be adequately covered in a fair time. This problem is aggravated by the very long simulation time of the many-accelerator virtual platforms (VPs). This article addresses these design issues by (a) presenting a virtual prototyping solution that decreases the exploration time by enabling the evaluation of multiple configurations per VP simulation and (b) proposing a DSE methodology that efficiently explores the design space of many-accelerator systems. With the use of two fully developed use cases, namely an H.264 decoding server for multiple video streams and a parallelized denoising system for MRI scans, we show that the proposed DSE methodology either leads to Pareto points that dominate over those of a typical DSE scenario or finds new solutions that might not be found by the typical DSE. In addition, the proposed virtual prototyping solution leads to DSE runtime reduction reaching 10× for H.264 and 5× for Rician denoise.

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