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Chapter: Embedded and Real Time Systems - Computing Platform and Design Analysis

Analysis and Optimization of Excution Time, Power, Nrgy , Program Size

The memory footprint of a program is determined by the size of its data and instructions. Both must be considered to minimize program size.

ANALYSIS AND OPTIMIZATION OF EXCUTION TIME, POWER, NRGY , PROGRAM SIZE:

 

The memory footprint of a program is determined by the size of its data and instructions. Both must be considered to minimize program size.

 

Data provide an excellent opportunity for minimizing size because the data are most highly dependent on programming style. Because inefficient programs often keep several copies of data, identifying and eliminating duplications can lead to significant memory savings usually with little performance penalty.

 

Buffers should be sized carefully rather than defining a data array to a large size that the program will never attain, determine the actual maximum amount of data held in the buffer and allocate the array accordingly. Data can sometimes be packed, such as by storing several flags in a single word and extracting them by using bit-level operations.

 

A very low-level technique for minimizing data is to reuse values. For instance, if several constants happen to have the same value, they can be mapped to the same location. Data buffers can often be reused at several different points in the program. This technique must be used with extreme caution, however, since subsequent versions of the program may not use the same values for the constants.

 

A more generally applicable technique is to generate data on the fly rather than store it. Of course, the code required to generate the data takes up space in the program, but when complex data structures are involved there may be some net space savings from using code to generate data.

 

Minimizing the size of the instruction text of a program requires a mix of high-level program transformations and careful instruction selection.

 

Encapsulating functions in subroutines can reduce program size when done carefully. Because subroutines have overhead for parameter passing that is not obvious from the high-level language code, there is a minimum-size function body for which a subroutine makes sense.

 

Architectures that have variable-size instruction lengths are particularly good candidates for careful coding to minimize program size, which may require assembly language coding of key program segments. There may also be cases in which one or a sequence of instructions is much smaller than alternative implementations for example, a multiply-accumulate instruction may be both smaller and faster than separate arithmetic operations.

 

When reducing the number of instructions in a program, one important technique is the proper use of subroutines. If the program performs identical operations repeatedly, these operations are natural candidates for subroutines.

 

Even if the operations vary somewhat, you may be able to construct a properly parameterized subroutine that saves space. Of course, when considering the code size savings, the subroutine linkage code must be counted into the equation. There is extra code not only in the subroutine body but also in each call to the subroutine that handles parameters.. In some cases, proper instruction selection may reduce code size; this is particularly true in CPUs that use variable-length instructions

 

 

Some microprocessor architectures support dense instruction sets, specially designed instruction sets that use shorter instruction formats to encode the instructions.

 

The ARM Thumb instruction set and the MIPS-16 instruction set for the MIPS architecture are two examples of this type of instruction set. In many cases, a microprocessor that supports the dense instruction set also supports the normal instruction set, although it is possible to build a microprocessor that executes only the dense instruction set.

 

Special compilation modes produce the program in terms of the dense instruction set. Program size of course varies with the type of program, but programs using the dense instruction set are often 70 to 80% of the size of the standard instruction set equivalents.

 

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