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MEP-MAS: A Message Passing Multiprocessor Array for Streaming Applications

Author: Tjin A Djie, M.E.
Mentor: Van Leuken, R. · Kumar, S.
Faculty:Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Department:Microelectronics & Computer Engineering
Type:Master thesis
Keywords: Multiprocessors · Streaming · Hardware scheduler
Rights: (c) 2012 Tjin A Djie, M.E.


This thesis presents the design and implementation of a Chip-Multiprocessor (CMP) targeted at streaming applications(e.g. MPEG, MP3). Streaming applications are applications which can be split into several distinct stages working on data elements in a pipelined fashion. We propose a distributed-memory array (MEP- MAS), where the cores communicate via message-passing, optimizing the throughput. Application tasks are dynamically scheduled by a hardware scheduler taking the consumer-producer locality into ac- count, thereby minimizing the communication overhead. The array is evaluated in terms of performance, scalability and predictability as a function of varied input stream sizes, multiple pipelines, number of pipeline stages and traffic volume. The array is configured as a 4 by 5 mesh and has reached speedups as high as 3.6x for a 4-stage pipeline and 13.4x for a 16-stage pipeline. Our experiments have highlighted the need for a balanced workload in order to optimize the performance. Furthermore, it is shown that MEP-MAS is scalable as the speedup and throughput almost linearly increases with the number of added pipelines. The speedup has increased from 3.6x to 13.5x and the throughput from 17k data elements per second to 65k data elements per second. Increasing the traffic volume in the network marginally affects the speedup (-1.9%). Finally, increasing the traffic volume can cause a high deviation in arrival times between two subsequent data blocks in the pipeline of up to 8%.

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