Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Systematic design methods for efficient off-chip DRAM access
Author: Bayliss, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 2648
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Typical design flows for digital hardware take, as their input, an abstract description of computation and data transfer between logical memories. No existing commercial high-level synthesis tool demonstrates the ability to map logical memory inferred from a high level language to external memory resources. This thesis develops techniques for doing this, specifically targeting off-chip dynamic memory (DRAM) devices. These are a commodity technology in widespread use with standardised interfaces. In use, the bandwidth of an external memory interface and the latency of memory requests asserted on it may become the bottleneck limiting the performance of a hardware design. Careful consideration of this is especially important when designing with DRAMs, whose latency and bandwidth characteristics depend upon the sequence of memory requests issued by a controller. Throughout the work presented here, we pursue exact compile-time methods for designing application-specific memory systems with a focus on guaranteeing predictable performance through static analysis. This contrasts with much of the surveyed existing work, which considers general purpose memory controllers and optimized policies which improve performance in experiments run using simulation of suites of benchmark codes. The work targets loop-nests within imperative source code, extracting a mathematical representation of the loop-nest statements and their associated memory accesses, referred to as the ‘Polytope Model’. We extend this mathematical representation to represent the physical DRAM ‘row’ and ‘column’ structures accessed when performing memory transfers. From this augmented representation, we can automatically derive DRAM controllers which buffer data in on-chip memory and transfer data in an efficient order. Buffering data and exploiting ‘reuse’ of data is shown to enable up to 50× reduction in the quantity of data transferred to external memory. The reordering of memory transactions exploiting knowledge of the physical layout of the DRAM device allowing to 4× improvement in the efficiency of those data transfers.
Supervisor: Constantinides, George Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral