GreenDroid: An architecture for the Dark Silicon Age

Nathan Goulding-Hotta, Jack Sampson, Qiaoshi Zheng, Vikram Bhatt, Joe Auricchio, Steven Swanson, Michael Bedford Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations


The Dark Silicon Age kicked off with the transition to multicore and will be characterized by a wild chase for seemingly ever-more insane architectural designs. At the heart of this transformation is the Utilization Wall, which states that, with each new process generation, the percentage of transistors that a chip can switch at full frequency is dropping exponentially due to power constraints. This has led to increasingly larger and larger fractions of a chip's silicon area that must remain passive, or dark. Since Dark Silicon is an exponentially-worsening phenomenon, getting worse at the same rate that Moore's Law is ostensibly making process technology better, we need to seek out fundamentally new approaches to designing processors for the Dark Silicon Age. Simply tweaking existing designs is not enough. Our research attacks the Dark Silicon problem directly through a set of energy-saving accelerators, called Conservation Cores, or c-cores. C-cores are a post-multicore approach that constructively uses dark silicon to reduce the energy consumption of an application by 10x or more. To examine the utility of c-cores, we are developing GreenDroid, a multicore chip that targets the Android mobile software stack. Our mobile application processor prototype targets a 32-nm process and is comprised of hundreds of automatically generated, specialized, patchable c-cores. These cores target specific Android hotspots, including the kernel. Our preliminary results suggest that we can attain up to 11x improvement in energy efficiency using a modest amount of silicon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASP-DAC 2012 - 17th Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2012
Event17th Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference, ASP-DAC 2012 - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: Jan 30 2012Feb 2 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference, ASP-DAC


Other17th Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference, ASP-DAC 2012
CitySydney, NSW

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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