Architecture-level power estimation and design experiments

Rita Yu Chen, Mary Jane Irwin, Raminder S. Bajwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Architecture-level power estimation has received more attention recently because of its efficiency. This article presents a technique used to do power analysis of processors at the architecture level. It provides cycle-by-cycle power consumption data of the architecture on the basis of the instruction/data flow stream. To characterize the power dissipation of control units, a novel hierarchical method has been developed. Using this technique, a power estimator is implemented for a commercial processor. The accuracy of the estimator is validated by comparing the power values it produces against measurements made by a gate-level power simulator for the same benchmark set. Our estimation approach is shown to provide very efficient and accurate power analysis at the architecture level. The energy models built for first-pass estimation (such as ALU, MAC unit, register files) are reusable for future architecture design modification. In this article, we demonstrate the application of the technique. Furthermore, this technique can evaluate various kinds of software to achieve hardware/software codesign for low power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-66
Number of pages17
JournalACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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