Skip to main content
  • Research Article
  • Open access
  • Published:

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


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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eric Senn.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Senn, E., Laurent, J., Julien, N. et al. SoftExplorer: Estimating and Optimizing the Power and Energy Consumption of a C Program for DSP Applications. EURASIP J. Adv. Signal Process. 2005, 728647 (2005).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Published:

  • DOI:

Keywords and phrases