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Title: High-level performance estimation framework for FPGA-based soft processors
Author: Powell, Adam
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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During the design of complex systems, designers need to know how their algorithm or hardware is going to perform early in the design process. Tools exist to predict performance metrics based on low-level parameters which are difficult to extract and are dependent on specific implementation or architecture details which are only available in the later stages of design. There needs to exist a model that is able to predict performance metrics based on the algorithm being executed and the architecture it is being executed on while using easily extractable parameters available early in design. This thesis introduces a framework for designers that assists them in the early stages of design. By having early estimations of performance based on the underlying hardware, greater savings can be achieved when compared to other methods which can only occur late in the design stage. Soft processors are used in the construction of the predictive models as they are flexible and allow for complex models to be created that explore the relationship between algorithm and hardware parameters. First, an accurate model for performance estimation is developed that uses both algorithm and architecture parameters. The method for extracting meaningful parameters of algorithms without the need for implementation is described and forms an important basis for this work. In predicting FPGA core power and off-chip device power, the model performs well with mean errors under 2%, while the error is slightly higher when predicting execution time. Next, a framework is proposed that uses this accurate model to analyze the performance of the algorithm in question to give the designer useful guidance not present in existing state-of-the-art approaches. The framework allows the user to see the interaction between the algorithm and the underlying hardware. This allows for early design space exploration that can produce more efficient hardware. Sensitivity analysis is performed in order to assess the performance of the proposed framework under noisy input parameters that model user uncertainty. Further, the properties of the modeling technique are used to provide the user with a measure of prediction confidence. Finally, the framework's ability to predict the effect of single event upsets in the arithmetic hardware is examined. This is done by creating additional predictive models to examine the execution time cost in the event of faulty multipliers or dividers.
Supervisor: Cheung, Peter; Bouganis, Christos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available