Exploring Programming Model-Driven QoS Support for NoC-based Platforms

Joven J., Marongiu A., Angiolini F., Benini L., De Micheli G.
(To appear in) Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Hardware/Software Codesign and System Synthesis (CODES+ISSS 2010).
Networks-on-Chip (NoCs) are being increasingly considered as a central enabling technology to communication-centric designs as more and more IP blocks are integrated on the same SoC. Embedded applications, in turn, are becoming extremely sophisticated, and often require guaranteed levels of service and performance. The complex and non-uniform nature of network traffic generated by parallel applications running on a large number of possibly heterogeneous IPs makes a strong case for providing Quality of Service (QoS) support for traffic streams over the NoC infrastructure. In this paper we consider an integrated hardware/software approach for delivering QoS at the application level. We designed NoC hardware support, low-level middleware and APIs which enable QoS control at the application level. Furthermore, we identify a set of programming abstractions useful to associate the notion of priority to each running task in the system. An initial implementation of this programming model is also presented, which leverages a set of extensions to a MPSoC-specific OpenMP compiler and runtime environment.