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 Authors : Ramalakshmi. R, Rajamunipriya. R
 Paper ID : IJERTV3IS20157
 Volume & Issue : Volume 03, Issue 02 (February 2014)
 Published (First Online): 13022014
 ISSN (Online) : 22780181
 Publisher Name : IJERT
 License: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
A Review on Multicore Architecture and their Validation
Ramalakshmi. R,
M. E. Embedded system technologies, Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and
Technology,
Rajamunipriya. R,

E. Embedded system technologies, Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and
Technology,
Abstract Multicore processors are widely used in todays servers, desktop and embedded systems. It is a major challenge to verify functional correctness as well as nonfunctional requirements of multicore architectures. Direct application of existing functional validation approaches usually consumes too much time to reach the coverage goal due to the complexity of multicore designs. Escaped bugs can lead to serious consequences in many scenarios. Due to parallel execution of task sets, existing approaches are also insufcient to validate whether applications in such systems can be scheduled within the given temperature, energy, and timing constraints. If these constraints are violated, it can lead to performance degradation or even catastrophic consequences in safetycritical systems.

INTRODUCTION

Multicore architectures are widely used in todays desktop, server, and embedded systems. Due to the existence of power wall, conventional single core architectures can no longer deliver the required performance improvement by increasing frequency. Instead, architects integrate more and more cores into the same chip to boost the throughput. By operating multiple cores at a lower frequency, multicore architectures can achieve the same performance with much smaller power dissipation compared with a high clock rate monolithic core. For desktopbased systems and servers, the multicore architectures ensure the fast growth of computation performance along with time. With rapid adoption of dual core and quadcore processors, we are moving down the path to 32, 64 or even hundreds of cores. For embedded systems, the energy efciency introduced by multicore architectures allows devices to operate for longer time with the same battery capacity. Besides, since multiple cores are sharing the same die, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) size is also reduced.
With the growing demand for green datacenters, longlife computers and handhold devices, multicore architectures will continue to dominate the design of next generation Systemon Chip (SoC) architectures. Successful multicore designs must satisfy both functional and nonfunctional requirements. Functional requirements ensure that the processor performs all logical functions as specied by the design specication. Non functional requirements are imposed to make the design satisfy various design constraints such as area, power, energy, temperature, and performance. Clearly, functional requirements are important, because a buggy (erroneous) design leads to unreliable systems. Depending on application
domains, unreliable systems can cause loss of vital information or even disaster. Nonfunctional requirements are also equally important, because violation of nonfunctional requirements can also lead to serious consequences. For example, due to uneven activities on different cores, the die temperature of busy cores can easily reach 120 C [16]. If the high die temperature is not well controlled, the transient error occurs more frequently and the device is less reliable. Also, devices that always operate in high temperature usually have much shorter lifespan as shown in industrial studies [82]. To avoid these unwanted scenarios, both functional and non functional validation must be performed to ensure the success of modern multicore designs.

Functional Validation Of Multicore Architectures
While multicore architectures are very successful to boost the throughput, their increasing complexity also introduces signicant validation challenges. Most widely used functional validation techniques are based on simulation using random and constrainedrandom tests [93] [1] [83]. The multicore design is placed within a simulation environment and a test generator randomly feeds new tests into the design. The behaviour of the design under test is compared with the golden reference model to detect any functional errors. As illustrated in Figure 11 [77], the verication complexity grows tremendously in last two decades. Due to the increasing complexity of multicore architectures, even trillions of simulation vectors may not be inadequate to achieve the required coverage goal within ever decreasing timetomarket window.
Since simulation vectors are generated randomly, it is quite difcult for random tests to activate coverage holes. Directed tests [22] are promising to address this problem. By analyzing the logical structure of the design, a small number of directed tests can activate the desired behavior of the system. They can be applied in addition to the random tests to reach the coverage goal with much less time. Unfortunately, most directed tests are manually
written, which is time consuming and errorprone. Fully automatic directed test generation schemes are desired to accelerate the verication process of multicore architectures. There are two major objectives in directed test generation. First, the overall validation effort should be minimized by reducing the total number of tests required to achieve the coverage goal. Secondly, test generation time should also be small.
Model checking [13, 28] is promising for automatic test generation. To activate a particular scenario, we can feed the negated version of a property to the model checker, and use the resultant counterexample as a directed test. Due to the state space explosion problem, such a process is usually quite time consuming. Since different cores in a multicore design usually contain similar structure, their formal descriptions (such as CNF in SATbased model checking) also exhibits signicant symmetry. We believe such symmetry can be exploited to accelerate the model checking process, because the information we learn from one core may be applied directly to other cores. Unfortunately, this intuitive reasoning is hard to implement because it is very difcult to reconstruct the symmetry from the CNF formula. The high level information is lost during CNF synthesis, and it is inefcient as well as computationally expensive to recover through reverse engineering methods.
An important requirement of functional validation is to achieve certain state or transition coverage metric in the state space of the design. Random simulation is widelyused in industry to fulll this goal. However, due to the symmetric nature of multicore architecture, its state space contains some unique features, which can be utilized to reduce the test length or testing time required to reach the required coverage goal. Although the FSM of each cache controller is easy to understand, the structure of the product FSM for modern cache coherence protocols usually have quite obscure structures that are hard to analyze. Besides, modern processors usually contain multiple cache levels, which greatly complicates the global state space. Even if the global state space can be described, it is still difcult to nd an efcient way to perform traversal in it. In other words, the test generation algorithm must activate all states and transitions with limited number of unnecessary transitions. Moreover, since the state space is quite large, the tests usually introduce a large storage overhead. Therefore, it is desirable that the test can be generated on the y.

Validation of Nonfunctional Requirements
So far we have descried the importance of ensuring functional correctness and challenges associated with verifying multicore architectures. It is also equally important to ensure that all the nonfunctional requirements are met. One of the key problems is to nd whether a given task set can be scheduled on the processor(s) without violating the required temperature and energy constraints. This kind of validation is important to ensure the reliability of multicore designs, because high die temperature leads to more frequent transient errors as well as shorter processor lifespan [82].
Besides, the management of overall energy consumption is also crucial to the success of an embedded design. Since many handheld devices are equipped with multicore processors but still batterypowered, we need to validate that all important tasks are nished with limited energy consumption. It is usually very costly to perform such validation, because the manufacturer need to build the full system and test the design by executing real task set. Since the worst case behavior of realtime systems usually can be obtained by ofine analysis, we believe it is possible to predict the system behavior based on the information collected via static analysis of task sets and execution environment. In other words, a large portion of nonfunctional validation can be performed without running the actual system in real environments. The major challenge in this eld comes from the NPhard nature [103] [100] [86] of the schedulability problem. In fact, it is NPhard even to verify the schedulability of a task set under temperature and energy constraints in a single core processor. The problem is more complex when the system contains multiple cores.

SYSTEMLEVEL VALIDATION TECHNIQUES
For ease of presentation, we have divided the existing approaches into three categories. First, we describe the test generation approaches for architecture validation. Next, we discuss existing techniques for cache coherence protocols validation. Finally, we present techniques for validation of nonfunctional requirements.

Test Generation for Architecture Validation
Model checking techniques are promising for functional verication and test generation of complex systems [39, 50, 51, 64]. Figure 21 shows the general
framework of the directed test generation based on model checking. In order to create directed tests, the formal model of the design specication and a suitable fault model are provided as input. Then a set of properties are generated for the desired behaviours (faults) that should be activated in the simulation based validation stage. For example, when a graph model of the design and a functional coverage fault model is provided, a coveragedriven property generation can be used. For circuits with stuckat fault model, the property will be in the form of G(a = 1) or G(a = 0). After that, a model checker is employed to check wether there exists some states which violate the negated version of the property. It reports a counterexample, if it nds a violation. This counter example contains a sequence of input information which will drive the system from an initial state to a state, which does not satisfy the negated version of the property, or in other words, which satises the original property. Therefore, we can use it as a test to activate the corresponding property or behavior during simulationbased validation. Although model checking is effective for directed test generation, the capacity of the conventional symbolic model checking is usually limited. Bounded model checking (BMC) was proposed to address this problem by checking whether there is a counterexample for the property within a given bound [13] [28]. BMC cannot prove the validity of a safety property to hold globally when no Counter example is found within a specic bound, but it is quite effective to falsify a design when the bound is not large. The reason is that SAT solvers usually require less space and time than conventional Binary Decision Diagram (BDD) based model checkers [65]. Therefore, SATbased BMC is suitable for directed test generation [64], where a counterexample typically exists within a relatively small bound. To generate the directed test, the negated version of the property is checked by BMC. The SAT solver will nd an assignment of all input and state variables, which satises (2 1). As a result, we can extract the assignment sequence of input variables and use it as a test to activate the desired property in the system.
A great deal of work has been done to reduce the SAT solving time during BMC [2225, 43, 52, 79, 91]. The basic idea is to exploit the regularity of the SAT instances between different bounds. For example, incremental SAT solvers [43, 91] reduce the solving time by employing the previously learned conict clauses. Generated conict clauses are kept in the database as long as the clauses which led to the conicts are not removed. Strichman [79] proposed that if a conict clause is deduced only from the transition part of a SAT instance, it can be safely forwarded to all instances with larger bounds, because the transition part of the design will still be in the SAT
instance when we unroll the design for more times. Besides, the learned conict clauses can also be replicated across different time steps. However, the existing approaches did not exploit the symmetric structure within the same time step. In directed test generation for multicore architectures, same knowledge about the core structure needs to be rediscovered for each core independently, which can lead to signicant wastage of computational power. When BMC is applied in circuits, Kuehlmann [53] proposed that the unfolded transition relation can be simplied by merging vertices that are functionally equivalent under given input constraints. In this way, the complexity of transition relation is greatly reduced. Since this technique is based on the AIG representation of logic designs, it is difcult to use for accelerating the solving process of CNF instances, which are directly created from high level specications. Verication and validation based on high level specication are proved to be effective. For example, Bhadra et al. [45] used executable specication to validate multiprocessor systemsonchip designs. Chen et al.
[22] proposed directed test generation based on high level specication. To accelerate the test generation process, conict clauses learned during checking of one property are forwarded to speed up the SAT solving process of other related properties, although the bound is required as an input. Similarly, the simultaneous SAT solver [49] enabled the learned clauses to be reused by properties. Decision ordering was also studied in [23] to reduce the SAT solving time. These approaches did not take the advantage of structural symmetry in multicore architectures.
When SAT instance contains symmetric structure, symmetry breaking predicate [3, 5, 30, 62, 80] can be used to speed up the SAT solving by conning the search to nonsymmetric regions of the space. By adding symmetry breaking predicates to the SAT instance, the SAT solver is restricted to nd the satisfying assignments of only one representative member in a symmetric set. However, this approach cannot effectively accelerate the directed test generation for multicore processors, because the properties for test generation are usually not symmetric with respect to each core. Thus, the symmetric regions in the entire space are usually small despite the fact that the structure of each core is identical. On the other hand, in component analysis for SAT solving, Biere et al. [14] proposed that each component can be solved individually to accelerate the solving process. However, the symmetric structure is not used at the same time for further speedup.
During the validation process, it is also very important to generate assertions effectively. One important work in this direction is GoldMine [81], which automatically uses data mining and formal verication to geneate assertions for real hardware designs. Using the simulation trace of RTL designs, GoldMine employs decision tree based supervised learning algorithms to mine potential assertions from the simulation data. Liu et al. [54] also proposed a methodology, which utilizes GoldMine to achieve coverage closure during design validation. Once the assertion is generated, automatic test generation approaches can be employed to generate the tests, which can be used to activate the desired behavior of the system. For example, test generation tools based on interleaved concrete and symbolic execution, such as DART [40], CUTE [72], and Apollo [7], are promising in capturing important bugs in large software systems. STAR [55] and HYBRO [56] are proposed to generate tests by combining static and dynamic analysis for hardware validation. Due to the effective utilization of the CFG, HYBRO [56] demonstrated remarkable improvement over previous path
based test generation technique [55]. However, HYBRO cannot be applied on designs containing dynamic array references.

Validation of Cache Coherence Protocols
Verication of cache coherence protocols for multicore and multiprocessor systems has been widely studied in both academia and industry. Existing studies can be broadly grouped into two categories: formal verication [27, 33, 36]
and simulation based validation [2, 83, 93]. Formal methods using model checking can prove mathematically whether the description of certain cache coherence protocol violates the required property. For example, Mur' [33] was designed and used to verify various cache coherence protocols based on explicit model checking. Counterexample guided renement
[27] is employed to verify complex protocols with multilevel caches. Besides, symbolic model checking tools are also developed for coherence verication. For example, Emerson et al. [36] investigated the verication problem with parameterized cache coherence protocol using BDDs. Although formal methods can guarantee the correctness of a design, they usually require that the design should be described in certain input languages. As a result, model checking usually cannot be applied to implementations directly Simulation based approaches, on the other hand, are able to handle designs at different abstraction levels and therefore more widely used in practice. For example, Wood et al. [93] used random tests to verify the memory subsystem of SPUR machine.
Successive loads and stores to the same location are employed as test template to expose possible errors. Genesys Pro test generator [2] from IBM extended this direction with more complex and sophisticated test templates. To reduce the search space, Abts et al. [1] introduced space pruning technique during their verication of the Cray processor. Wagner et al.
[83] designed the MCjammer tool which can get higher state coverage than normal constrained random tests. Existing random test generation tools are proven to be effective to discover potential bugs. However, due to their random nature, it is very hard to achieve full state and transition coverage in a reasonable time. Since an uncovered transition can only be visited by taking a unique action at a particular state, it may not be feasible for a random test generator to eventually cover all possible states and transitions. To address this problem, some random testers are equipped with small amount of memory, so that the future search can be guided to the uncovered regions. Unfortunately, unless the memory is large enough to hold the entire state space, it is still quite hard to achieve full coverage by such guided random testing. 
Task Schedulability under Constraints
Energyaware scheduling techniques for realtime systems have been widely studied to reduce energy consumption. While several works employed dynamic cache reconguration
[87] [85], most of them are based on Dynamic Voltage Scaling (DVS). Aydin et al. [9] addressed both static and dynamic slack allocation problems for periodic task sets, while Shin et al. [73] also considered aperiodic tasks. Jejurikar et al. focused on energyaware scheduling for nonpreemptive task sets [47] and leakage power minimization [48]. Zhong et al. [103] solved a systemwide energy minimization problem with consideration of other components. Wang et al. [85] proposed a leakageaware energy saving technique based on DVS as well as cache reconguration. As shown in [100], applyingDVS in realtime systems is a NPhard problem. Optimal and approximation algorithms are given in [103] [100] [86], while other works proposed heuristics. A survey on recent works can be found in [21]. However, these techniques are not aware of controlling the operating temperature. Temperatureaware scheduling in realtime systems has drawn signicant research interests in recent years. Wang et al. [84] introduced a simple reactive DVS scheme aiming at meeting task timing constraints and maintaining processor safe temperature. Zhang et al. [101] proved the NPhardness of temperature constrained performance optimization problem in realtime systems and proposed an approximation algorithm.
Yuan et al. [97] considered both temperature and leakage power impact in DVS problem for soft realtime systems. Chen et al. [20] explored temperatureaware scheduling for periodic tasks in both uniprocessor and homogeneous multiprocessor DVSenabled platforms. Liu et al. [57] proposed a designtime thermal optimization framework which is able to solve problem variants EA, TA and TCEA scheduling in embedded system with task timing constraints. Jayaseelan et al. [46] exploited different task execution orders, in which each task has distinct power prole, to minimize peak temperature. However, none of these techniques solves TCEC problem. Moreover, they all make certain assumptions on system characteristics that limits their applicability. Existing research formulated the voltage/frequency assignment problems in different models. For example, Integer Linear Programming (ILP) has been widely applied to many voltage/frequency assignment problems without the temperature constraint [94, 102]. Chantem et al. [19] also used ILP to model scheduling problem with steadystate temperature constraints. Unfortunately, when transient temperature is considered, the full expansion of the temperature constraint introduces a large number of product terms, which prevent us to solve the problem efciently using ILP solvers. Coskun et al. [29] circumvented this problem using an iterative ILP and thermal simulation approach, although the convergence to the optimal solution is not guaranteed.Another important modeling technique is timed automata [6]. Norstorm et al. [66] rst extended timed automata with the notion of realtime tasks and showed that the traditional schedulability analysis can be transformed to a decidable reachability problem in timed automata, which can be solved using model checking tools. Fersman et al. [37] further generalized this approach with asynchronous processes and preemptive tasks in continuoustime model. However, none of these techniques considered energy or temperature related issues.
There are several studies on Dynamic Power Management (DPM) using formal verication methods for embedded systems [74] and multiprocessor platforms [58]. Shukla et al.
[74] provided a preliminary study on evaluating DPM schemes using an offtheshelf model checker. Lungo et al. [58] tried to incorporate verication of DPM schemes in the early design stage. They showed that tradeoffs can be made between design quality and verication efforts. None of these approaches considers temperature management in such systems. Moreover, they did not account for energy and timing constraints, which are important in realtime embedded systems. Wang et al. [88] discussed the application of time automata in schedulability problem with both energy and temperature constraints. Nevertheless, due to the capacity limit of model checker, the proposed tecnique can only be applied to small task sets.Temperature or energyconstrained scheduling problems are also related to the multiconstrained path (MCP) problem for Quality of Service (QoS). MCP was extensively studied by network community. For example, Chen et al. [26] designed an approximation algorithm for MCP with two constraints.
[76] and [98] studied the efcient heuristics for MCP problems. Xue et al. [96] proposed polynomial time approximation algorithms, which can be applied for more than two constraints. However, since the QoS costs are usually modeled as additive constants, these existing methods cannot be applied directly to solve TCEC problem due to the fact that the computation of the temperature is not additive. 


CONCLUSION
To design reliable multicore systems, it is crucial to satisfy both functional and nonfunctional requirements. The functional requirements ensure that the design performs all the logical operations as specified. The nonfunctional requirements guarantee that the system does not violate various design constraints such as area, power, energy, and temperature. While the complexity of modern multicore architectures are increasing rapidly, it introduces various challenges during validation of both functional behavior and nonfunctional requirements. In conclusion, this paper presented a comprehensive study of the systemlevel validation of multicore architectures.
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RAMALAKSHMI R did her bachelor of engineering in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at FRANCIS XAVIER ENGINEERING COLLEGE, Tirunelveli and doing Master of Engineering in Embedded System Technologies in SRI SHAKTHI INSTITUTE OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOY, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. Her research interest includes Electronics and Embedded System Design.

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RAJAMUNIPRIYA R did her bachelor of engineering in Electroincs and Communication Engineering at BANNARI AMMAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY,
Sathyamangalam and doing Master of Engineering in Embedded System Technologies in SRI SHAKTHI INSTITUTE OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOY,
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu , India. Her research interest includes electronics and Embedded System Design.