Infoscience

Journal article

A Synchronization-Based Hybrid-Memory Multi-Core Architecture for Energy-Efficient Biomedical Signal Processing

In the last decade, improvements on technology scaling have enabled the design of a novel generation of wearable bio-sensing monitors. These smart Wireless Body Sensor Nodes (WBSNs) are able to acquire and process biological signals, such as electrocardiograms, for periods of time extending from hours to days. The energy required for the on-node digital signal processing (DSP) is a crucial limiting factor in the conception of these devices. To address this design challenge, we introduce a domain-specific ultra-low power (ULP) architecture dedicated to bio-signal processing. The platform features a light-weight strategy to support different operating modes and synchronization among cores. Our approach effectively reduces the power consumption, harnessing the intrinsic parallelism and the workload requirements characterizing the target domain. Operations at low voltage levels are supported by a heterogeneous memory subsystem comprising a standard-cell based ultra-low voltage reliable partition. Experimental results show that, when executing real-world bio-signal DSP applications, a state-of-the-art multi-core architecture can improve its energy efficiency in up to 50% by utilizing our proposed approach, outperforming traditional single-core alternatives.

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