Journal article

Memory Power Optimization of Java-Based Embedded Systems Exploiting Garbage Collection Information

Nowadays, Java is used in all types of embedded devices. For these memory-constrained systems, the automatic dynamicmemorymanager (Garbage Collector or GC) has been always a key factor in terms of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) performance. Moreover, in current embedded platforms, power consumption is becoming as important as performance. Thus, in this paper we present an exploration, from an energy viewpoint, of the different possibilities of memory hierarchies for high-performance embedded systems when used by state-of-the-art GCs. This is a starting point for a better understanding of the interactions between the Java applications, the memory hierarchy and the GC. Hence, we subsequently present two techniques to reduce energy consumption on Java-based embedded systems, based on exploiting GC information. The first technique uses GC execution behavior to reduce leakage energy consumption taking advantage of the low-power mode of actual multi-banked SDRAM memories and it is intended for generational collectors. This technique can achieve a reduction up to 50% of SDRAM memory leakage. The second technique involves the inclusion of a software-controlled (scratchpad) memory that stores GC instructions under the JVM control to reduce the active energy consumption and also improve the performance of the target embedded system and it is aimed at all kind of garbage collectors. For this last technique we have experimented with two different approaches for selecting the GC code to be stored in the scratchpad memory: one static and one dynamic. Our experimental results show that the proposed dynamic scratchpad management approach for GCs enables up to 63% energy consumption reduction and 25% performance improvement during the collector phase, which means, in terms of JVM execution, a global reduction of 29% and 17% for energy and cycles respectively. Overall, this work outlines that the key for an efficient low-power implementation of Java Virtual Machines for high-performance embedded systems is the synergy between the GC choice, the memory architecture tuning, and the inclusion of power management schemes controlled by the JVM, exploiting knowledge of the GC behavior.

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