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Exploiting Data Resilience in Wireless Network-on-chip Architectures

Giuseppe Ascia, Vincenzo Catania, , Maurizio Palesi, Davide Patti, , Valerio Mario Salerno

Abstract: The emerging wireless Network-on-Chip (WiNoC) architectures are a viable solution for addressing the scalability limitations of manycore architectures in which multi-hop long-range communications strongly impact both the performance and energy figures of the system. The energy consumption of wired links as well as that of radio communications account for a relevant fraction of the overall energy budget. In this article, we extend the approximate computing paradigm to the case of the on-chip communication system in manycore architectures. We present techniques, circuitries, and programming interfaces aimed at reducing the energy consumption of a WiNoC by exploiting the trade-off energy saving vs. application output degradation. The proposed platform—namely, xWiNoC—uses variable voltage swing links and tunable transmitting power wireless interfaces along with a programming interface that allows the programmer to specify those data structures that are error-resilient. Thus, communications induced by the access to such error-resilient data structures are carried out by using links and radio channels that are configured to work in a low energy mode, albeit by exposing a higher bit error rate. xWiNoC is assessed on a set of applications belonging to different domains in which the trade-off energy vs. performance vs. application result quality is discussed. We found that up to 50% of communication energy saving can be obtained with a negligible impact on the application output quality and 3% in application performance degradation.
Keywords: Approximate communication / Approximate computing / energy quality trade-off / wireless network-on-chip

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