Analytical Bounding Data Cache Behavior for Real-Time Systems

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Title: Analytical Bounding Data Cache Behavior for Real-Time Systems
Author: Ramaprasad, Harini
Advisors: Frank Mueller, Committee Chair
Eric Rotenberg, Committee Member
Vincent Freeh, Committee Member
Tao Xie, Committee Member
Abstract: This dissertation presents data cache analysis techniques that make it feasible to predict data cache behavior and to bound the worst-case execution time for a large class of real-time programs. Data Caches are an increasingly important architectural feature in most modern computer systems. They help bridge the gap between processor speeds and memory access times. One inherent difficulty of using data caches in a real-time system is the unpredictability of memory accesses, which makes it difficult to calculate worst-case execution times of real-time tasks. This dissertation presents an analytical framework that characterizes data cache behavior in the context of independent, periodic tasks with deadlines less than or equal to their periods, executing on a single, in-order processor. The framework presented has three major components. 1) The first component analytically derives data cache reference patterns for all scalar and non-scalar references in a task. Using these, it produces a safe and tight upper bound on the worst-case execution time of the task without considering interference from other tasks. 2) The second component calculates the worst-case execution time and response time of a task in the context of a multi-task, prioritized, preemptive environment. This component calculates Data-Cache Related Preemption Delay for tasks assuming that all tasks in the system are completely preemptive. 3) In the third component, tasks are allowed to have critical sections in which they access shared resources. In this context, two analysis techniques are presented. In the first one, a task executing in a critical section is not allowed to be preempted by any other task. In the second one, the framework incorporates Resource Sharing Policies to arbitrate accesses to shared resources, thereby improving responsiveness of high-priority tasks that do not use a particular resource. In all the components presented in this dissertation, a direct-mapped data cache is assumed. Experimental results demonstrate the value of all the analysis techniques described above in the context of data cache usage in a hard real-time system.
Date: 2008-07-21
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Computer Science

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