Dimetrodon: Processor-Level Preventive Thermal Management Via Idle Cycle Injection

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Executive Summary

Processor-level dynamic thermal management techniques have long targeted worst-case thermal margins. The authors examine the thermal performance trade-offs in average-case, preventive thermal management by actively degrading application performance to achieve long-term thermal control. They propose Dimetrodon, the use of idle cycle injection, a flexible, per-thread technique, as a preventive thermal management mechanism and demonstrate its efficiency compared to hardware techniques in a commodity operating system on real hardware under throughput and latency-sensitive real-world workloads. Compared to hardware techniques that also lack flexibility, Dimetrodon achieves favorable trade-offs for temperature reductions up to 30% due to rapid heat dissipation during short idle intervals.

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