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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

SoftExplorer: Estimating and Optimizing the Power and Energy Consumption of a C Program for DSP Applications

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20052005:728647

  • Received: 30 January 2004
  • Published:


We present a method to estimate the power and energy consumption of an algorithm directly from the C program. Three models are involved: a model for the targeted processor (the power model), a model for the algorithm, and a model for the compiler (the prediction model). A functional-level power analysis is performed to obtain the power model. Five power models have been developed so far, for different architectures, from the simple RISC ARM7 to the very complex VLIW DSP TI C64. Important phenomena are taken into account, like cache misses, pipeline stalls, and internal/external memory accesses. The model for the algorithm expresses the algorithm's influence over the processor's activity. The prediction model represents the behavior of the compiler, and how it will allow the algorithm to use the processor's resources. The data mapping is considered at that stage. We have developed a tool, SoftExplorer, which performs estimation both at the C-level and the assembly level. Estimations are performed on real-life digital signal processing applications with average errors of % at the C-level and % at the assembly level. We present how SoftExplorer can be used to optimize the consumption of an application. We first show how to find the best data mapping for an algorithm. Then we demonstrate a method to choose the processor and its operating frequency in order to minimize the global energy consumption.

Keywords and phrases

  • power
  • energy
  • estimation
  • optimization
  • C program
  • DSP applications

Authors’ Affiliations

LESTER, University of South-Brittany, BP 92116, Lorient Cedex, 56321, France


© Senn et al. 2005