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Scratchpad memories vs locked caches in hard real-time systems: a qualitative and quantitative comparison

Isabelle Puaut 1 Christophe Pais 1
1 CAPS - Compilation, parallel architectures and system
IRISA - Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires, Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique
Abstract : Hard real-time tasks must meet their deadline in all situations, including in the worst-case one, otherwise the safety of the controlled system is jeopardized. In addition to this stringent demand for predictability, an increasing number of har real-time applications need to be fast as well. As a consequence, architectures with caches and/or on-chip static RAM (scratchpad memories) are of interest for such applications. As compared to unlocked caches which may raise predictability issues for some cache replacement policies [5], locked caches and software-controlled on-chip static RAM are more easily amenable to timing analysis. We propose in this paper an algorithm for off-line selection of the contents of on-chip memories. The algorithm supports two types of on-chip memories, namely locked caches and scratchpad memories. The contents of on-chip memory, although selected off-line, is changed at run-time, for the sake of scalability with respect to task size. The algorithm allows to make a quantitative comparison of worst-case performance of applications using these two kinds of on-chip memories. Experimental results show that the algorithm yields to good ratios of on-chip memory accesses on the worst-case execution path, with a tolerable reload overhead, for both types of on-chip memories. Furthermore, we highlight the circumstances under which one type of on-chip memory is more appropriate than the other depending of architectural parameters (cache block size) and application characteristics (basic block size).
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 8:54:46 AM
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  • HAL Id : inria-00105010, version 1


Isabelle Puaut, Christophe Pais. Scratchpad memories vs locked caches in hard real-time systems: a qualitative and quantitative comparison. [Research Report] PI 1818, 2006, pp.22. ⟨inria-00105010⟩



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