A growing number of applications, often with real-time requirements, are integrated on the same system on chip (SoC), in the form of hardware and software intellectual property (IP). To facilitate real-time applications, networks on chip (NoC) guarantee bounds on latency and throughput. These bounds, however, only extend to the network interfaces (NI), between the IP and the NoC. To give performance guarantees on the application level, the buffers in the NIs must be sufficiently large for the particular application. At the same time, it is imperative to minimise the size of the NI buffers, as they are major contributors to the area and power consumption of the NoC. Existing buffer-sizing methods use coarse-grained application models, based on linear traffic bounds or periodic producers and consumers, thus severely limiting their applicability. In this work, the authors propose to capture the behaviour of the NoC and the applications using a dataflow model. This enables one to verify the temporal behaviour and to compute buffer sizes using existing dataflow analysis techniques. The authors show what is required from the NoC architecture and demonstrate how to construct an NoC model, with multiple levels of detail. Using the proposed model, buffer sizes are determined for a range of SoC designs with a run time comparable to existing analytical methods, and results comparable to exhaustive simulation. For an application case study, where existing buffer-sizing methods are not applicable, the proposed model enables the verification of end-to-end temporal behaviour.
Hansson, A., Hansson, A., Wiggers, M. H., Moonen, A., Goossens, K., Bekooij, M. J. G., & Bekooij, M. (2009). Enabling application-level performance guarantees in network-based systems on chip by applying dataflow analysis. IET computers & digital techniques, 3(5), 398-412. [10.1049/iet-cdt.2008.0093]. https://doi.org/10.1049/iet-cdt.2008.0093