Static and dynamic frequency scaling on multicore CPUs

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Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) typically adapts CPU power consumption by modifying a processor's operating frequency (and the associated voltage). Typical DVFS approaches include using default strategies such as running at the lowest or the highest frequency or reacting to the CPU's runtime load to reduce or increase frequency based on the CPU usage. In this article, we argue that a compile-time approach to CPU frequency selection is achievable for affine program regions and can significantly outperform runtime-based approaches. We first propose a lightweight runtime approach that can exploit the properties of the power profile specific to a processor, outperforming classical Linux governors such as powersave or on-demand for computational kernels. We then demonstrate that, for affine kernels in the application, a purely compile-time approach to CPU frequency and core count selection is achievable, providing significant additional benefits over the runtime approach. Our framework relies on a one-time profiling of the target CPU, along with a compile-time categorization of loop-based code segments in the application. These are combined to determine at compile-time the frequency and the number of cores to use to execute each affine region to optimize energy or energy-delay product. Extensive evaluation on 60 benchmarks and 5 multi-core CPUs show that our approach systematically outperforms the powersave Linux governor while also improving overall performance.