Reducing Data Cache Leakage Energy Using a Compiler-Based Approach

Wei Zhang, Mahmut Kandemir, Guangyu Chen, Mustafa Karakoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Silicon technology advances have made it possible to pack millions of transistors-switching at high clock speeds-on a single chip. While these advances bring unprecedented performance to electronic products, they also pose difficult power/energy consumption problems. For example, large number of transistors in dense on-chip cache memories consume significant static (leakage) power even if the cache is not used by the current computation. While previous compiler research studied code and data restructuring for improving data cache performance, to our knowledge, there exists no compiler-based study that targets data cache leakage power consumption. In this paper, we present code restructuring techniques for array-based and pointer-intensive applications for reducing data cache leakage energy consumption. The idea is to let the compiler analyze the application code and insert instructions that turn off cache lines that keep variables not used by the current computation. This turning-off does not destroy contents of a cache line and waking up the cache line (when it is accessed later) does not incur much overhead. Due to inherent data locality in applications, we find that, at a given time, only a small portion of the data cache needs to be active; the remaining part can be placed into a leakage-saving mode (state); i.e., they can be turned off. Our experimental results indicate that the proposed compiler-based strategy reduces the cache energy consumption significantly. We also demonstrate how different compiler optimizations can increase the effectiveness of our strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-678
Number of pages27
JournalACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture


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