Feedback Thermal Control of Real-time Systems on Multicore Processors

TitleFeedback Thermal Control of Real-time Systems on Multicore Processors
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsFu, Y., N. Kottenstette, C. Lu, and X. Koutsoukos
Date Published01/2011
InstitutionWashington University in St. Louis
Report NumberWUCSE-2011-3

Real-time systems face significant challenges in thermal management with their adoption of modern multicore processors. While earlier research on feedback thermal control has shown promise in dealing with the uncertainties in the thermal characteristics, multicore processors introduce new challenges that cannot be handled by previous solutions designed for single-core processors. Multicore processors require the temperatures and real-time performance of multiple cores to be controlled simultaneously, leading to multi-input-multi-output (MIMO) control problems with inter-core thermal coupling. Furthermore, current Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) mechanisms only support a finite set of states, leading to discrete control variables that cannot be handled by standard linear control techniques. This paper presents Real-Time Multicore Thermal Control (RT-MTC), the first feedback thermal control framework specifically designed for multicore real-time systems. RT-MTC dynamically enforces both the temperature and the CPU utilization bounds of a multicore processor through DVFS with discrete frequencies. RT-MTC employs a highly efficient controller that integrates saturation and proportional control components rigorously designed to enforce the desired core temperature and CPU utilization bounds. It handles discrete frequencies through a PulseWidth Modulation (PWM) that achieves effective thermal control by manipulating the dwelling time of discrete frequencies. As a result RT-MTC can achieve effective thermal control with only a small number of frequencies typical in current processors. The robustness and advantages of RTMTC over existing thermal control approaches are demonstrated through extensive simulations under a wide range of uncertainties in term of power consumption.