A Two-Level Cache Design Space Exploration System for Embedded Applications

Nobuaki TOJO  Nozomu TOGAWA  Masao YANAGISAWA  Tatsuo OHTSUKI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E92-A   No.12   pp.3238-3247
Publication Date: 2009/12/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1337
DOI: 10.1587/transfun.E92.A.3238
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on VLSI Design and CAD Algorithms)
Category: Embedded, Real-Time and Reconfigurable Systems
two-level cache,  L1/L2,  cache optimization,  design space exploration,  cache simulation,  embedded system,  

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Recently, two-level cache, L1 cache and L2 cache, is commonly used in a processor. Particularly in an embedded system whereby a single application or a class of applications is repeatedly executed on a processor, its cache configuration can be customized such that an optimal one is achieved. An optimal two-level cache configuration can be obtained which minimizes overall memory access time or memory energy consumption by varying the three cache parameters: the number of sets, a line size, and an associativity, for L1 cache and L2 cache. In this paper, we first extend the L1 cache simulation algorithm so that we can explore two-level cache configuration. Second, we propose two-level cache design space exploration algorithms: CRCB-T1 and CRCB-T2, each of which is based on applying Cache Inclusion Property to two-level cache configuration. Each of the proposed algorithms realizes exact cache simulation but decreases the number of cache hit/miss judgments by a factor of several thousands. Experimental results show that, by using our approach, the number of cache hit/miss judgments required to optimize a cache configurations is reduced to 1/50-1/5500 compared to the exhaustive approach. As a result, our proposed approach totally runs an average of 1398.25 times faster compared to the exhaustive approach. Our proposed cache simulation approach achieves the world fastest two-level cache design space exploration.