Machine Learning for Performance and Power Modeling of Heterogeneous Systems (Invited Paper)


Published in the Proceedings of the 2018 International Conference on Computer Aided Design (ICCAD 2018), November, 2018


Joseph L. Greathouse, Gabriel H. Loh


Modern processing systems with heterogeneous components (e.g., CPUs, GPUs) have numerous configuration and design options such as the number and types of cores, frequency, and memory bandwidth. Hardware architects must perform design space explorations in order to accurately target markets of interest under tight time-to-market constraints. This need highlights the importance of rapid performance and power estimation mechanisms.

This work describes the use of machine learning (ML) techniques within a methodology for the estimating performance and power of heterogeneous systems. In particular, we measure the power and performance of a large collection of test applications running on real hardware across numerous hardware configurations. We use these measurements to train a ML model; the model learns how the applications scale with the system's key design parameters.

Later, new applications of interest are executed on a single configuration, and we gather hardware performance counter values which describe how the application used the hardware. These values are fed into our ML model's inference algorithm, which quickly identify how this application will scale across various design points. In this way, we can rapidly predict the performance and power of the new application across a wide range of system configurations.

Once the initial run of the program is complete, our ML algorithm can predict the application's performance and power at many hardware points faster than running it at each of those points and with a level of accuracy comparable to cycle-level simulators.


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