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Published on November 30, 2016 by IEEE Computer Society

Chip manufacturers provide the Thermal Design Power (TDP) for a specific chip. The cooling solution is designed to dissipate this power level. But because TDP is not necessarily the maximum power that can be applied, chips are operated with Dynamic Thermal Management (DTM) techniques. To avoid excessive triggers of DTM, usually, system designers also use TDP as
power constraint. However, using a single and constant value as power constraint, e.g., TDP, can result in significant performance
losses in homogeneous and heterogeneous manycore systems. Having better power budgeting techniques is a major step towards
dealing with the dark silicon problem. This paper presents a new power budget concept, called Thermal Safe Power (TSP), which is
an abstraction that provides safe power and power density constraints as a function of the number of simultaneously active cores. Executing cores at any power consumption below TSP ensures that DTM is not triggered. TSP can be computed offline for the worst cases, or online for a particular mapping of cores. TSP can also serve as a fundamental tool for guiding task partitioning and core mapping decisions, specially when core heterogeneity or timing guarantees are involved. Moreover, TSP results in dark silicon estimations which are less pessimistic than estimations using constant power budgets.

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