To develop an embedded system platform that dynamically adapt itself to the applications. The platform will be open-source: both the industry and academia can use it for fast design-space prototyping.
The design of embedded systems such as mobile smartphones becomes increasingly more complex as multi-core processors are needed to achieve the required functionalities. This complexity has triggered the trend to move away from utilizing dedicated hardware designs to more general-purpose platforms. However, different applications such as the telephone and the camera functions in the mobile smartphone have different characteristics and requirements, making the efficient support of all these characteristics nearly impossible in the scope of a single fixed platform, despite its programmability. Consequently, we are observing the emergence of many-core chips, i.e., containing multiple but differently sized/performing/power-consuming processor cores. An example is the Tegra 3-chip from NVIDIA containing several high-performance cores and a low-performance/low-power processor core. Still, each core is not tuned efficiently for different applications.
The efficiency problem is addressed by the ERA project, which goals is to develop a platform that can dynamically adapt itself to the applications (characteristics and requirements) while taking into account performance and power constraints within its operating environment. We expect an increased performance of selected applications by 25% with the same energy consumption or reduced energy consumption by 30% with the same performance. Moreover, the ERA platform will allow for further efficient utilization of on-chip resources as the platform itself performs self-optimization and without much effort, the industry can use the platform to perform quick design-space explorations.