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Department of Information Technology
Uppsala Architecture Research Team

Green governors: A framework for continuously adaptive DVFS

We present Continuously Adaptive Dynamic Voltage/Frequency scaling in Linux systems running on Intel i7 and AMD Phenom II processors. By exploiting slack, inherent in memory-bound programs, our approach aims to improve power efficiency even when the processor does not sit idle. Our underlying methodology is based on a simple first-order processor performance model in which frequency scaling is expressed as a change (in cycles) of the main memory latency. Utilizing available monitoring hardware we show that our model is powerful enough to i) predict with reasonable accuracy the effect of frequency scaling (in terms of performance loss) and ii) predict the core energy under different V/f combinations.

To validate our approach we perform highly accurate, fine-grained power measurements directly on the off-chip voltage regulators. We use our model to implement various DVFS policies as Linux "green" governors to continuously optimize for various power-efficiency metrics such as EDP or ED2P, or achieve energy savings with a user-specified limit on performance loss. Our evaluation shows that, for SPEC2006 workloads, our governors achieve dynamically the same optimal EDP or ED2P (within 2% on avg.) as an exhaustive search of all possible frequencies. Energy savings can reach up to 56% in memory-bound workloads with corresponding improvements of about 55% for EDP or ED2P.

Improvements in energy and EDP for four multicore workloads.
Improvements in energy and EDP for four multicore workloads. Poster

Updated  2015-01-21 12:29:27 by Vasileios Spiliopoulos.