Hardware accelerators are common in embedded systems that have high performance requirements but must still operate within stringent energy constraints. To facilitate short time-to-market and reduced non-recurring engineering costs, automatic systems that can rapidly generate hardware bearing both power and performance in mind are extremely attractive. This paper proposes the BLADES (Better-than-worst-case Loop Accelerator Design) system for automatically designing self-tuning hardware accelerators that dynamically select their best operating frequency and voltage based on environmental conditions, silicon variation, and input data characteristics. Errors in operation are detected by Razor flip-flops, and recovery is initiated. The architecture efficiently supports detection, rollback, and recovery to provide a highly adaptable and configurable loop accelerator. The overhead of deploying Razor flip-flops is significantly reduced by automatically chaining primitive computation operations together. Results on a range of loop accelerators show average energy savings of 32% gained by voltage scaling below the nominal supply voltage.

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Published on 01/01/2008

Volume 2008, 2008
DOI: 10.1145/1391469.1391694
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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