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Publication : Push-Assisted Migration of Real-Time Tasks in Multi-Core Processors

Authors : Abhik Sarkar, Frank Mueller, Harini Ramaprasad and Sibin Mohan.

Abstract :

Multicores are becoming ubiquitous, not only in general-purpose but also embedded computing. This trend is a reflection of  contemporary embedded applications posing steadily increasing  demands in processing power. On such platforms, prediction of timing behavior to ensure that deadlines of real-time tasks can be  met is becoming increasingly difficult. While real-time multicore scheduling approaches help to assure deadlines based on firm theoretical properties, their reliance on task migration poses a significant challenge to timing predictability in practice. Task migration actually (a) reduces timing predictability for contemporary multicores due to cache warm-up overheads while (b) increasing traffic on the network-on-chip (NoC) interconnect.
This paper puts forth a fundamentally new approach to increase the timing predictability of multicore architectures aimed at task migration in embedded environments. A task migration between two cores imposes cache warm-up overheads on the migration target, which can lead to missed deadlines for tight real-time schedules.We propose novel micro-architectural support to migrate cache lines. Our scheme shows dramatically increased predictability in the presence of cross-core migration.
Experimental results for schedules demonstrate that our scheme enables real-time tasks to meet their deadlines in the presence of task migration. Our results illustrate that increases in execution time due to migration is reduced by our scheme to levels that may prevent deadline misses of real-time tasks that would otherwise occur. Our mechanism imposes an overhead at a fraction of the task’s execution time, yet this overhead can be steered to fill idle slots in the schedule, i.e., it does not contribute to the execution time of the migrated task. Overall, our novel migration scheme provides a unique mechanism capable of significantly increasing timing predictability in the wake of task migration.

Here is a link to the full paper and slides to the talk at RTSS.

This was presented at the ACM conference Languages, Compilers and Tools for Embedded Systems (LCTES), held in Dublin, Ireland in 2009.

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