A System Level Optimization Technique for Application Specific Low Power Memories

Kunihiro ASADA

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E84-A    No.11    pp.2755-2761
Publication Date: 2001/11/01
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on VLSI Design and CAD Algorithms)
Category: Optimization of Power and Timing
low power design,  hardware/software codesign,  memory,  low voltage,  embedded system,  

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A system level approach for a memory power reduction is proposed in this paper. The basic idea is allocating frequently executed object codes into a small subprogram memory and optimizing supply voltage and threshold voltage of the subprogram memory. Since large scale memory contains a lot of direct paths from power supply to ground, power dissipation caused by subthreshold leakage current is more serious than dynamic power dissipation. Our approach optimizes the size of subprogram memory, supply voltage, and threshold voltage so as to minimize memory power dissipation including static power dissipation caused by leakage current. A heuristic algorithm which determines code allocation, supply voltage, and threshold voltage simultaneously so as to minimize power dissipation of memories is proposed as well. Our experiments with some benchmark programs demonstrate significant energy reductions up to 80% over a program memory which does not employ our approach.