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Each semiconductor technology generation brings one closer to the imminent processor architecture heat wall, with all its associated adverse effects on system performance and reliability. Temperature hotspots not only accelerate the physical failure mechanisms such as electromigration and dielectric breakdown, but furthermore make the system more vulnerable to timing-related intermittent failures. Traditional thermal management techniques suffer from considerable performance overhead as the entire processor needs to be stalled or slowed down to preclude heat accumulation. Given the significant temporal and spatial variations of the chip-wide temperature, the authors propose in this paper a technique that directly targets one of the resources that is most likely to overheat in current processors, namely, the register files.
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