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Evaluating Gem5 and QEMU Virtual Platforms for ARM Multicore Architectures
KTH, School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Accurate virtual platforms allow for crucial, early, and inexpensive assessments about the viability and hardware constraints of software/hardware applications. The growth of multicore architectures in both number of cores and relevance in the industry, in turn, demands the emergence of faster and more efficient virtual platforms to make the benefits of single core simulation and emulation available to their multicore successors whilst maintaining accuracy, development costs, time, and efficiency at acceptable levels.

The goal of this thesis is to find optimal virtual platforms to perform hardware design space exploration for multi-core architectures running filtering functions, particularly, a discrete signal filtering Matlab algorithm used for oil surveying applications running on an ARM Cortex-A53 quadcore CPU. In addition to the filtering algorithm, the PARSEC benchmark suite was also used to test platform compliance under workloads with diverse characteristics. Upon reviewing multiple virtual platforms, the gem5 simulator and the QEMU emulator were chosen to be tested due to their ubiquitousness, prominence and flexibility. A Raspberry Pi Model B was used as reference to measure how closely these tools can model a commonly used embedded platform.

The results show that each of the virtual platforms is best suited for different scenarios. The QEMU emulator with KVM support yielded the best performance, albeit requiring access to a host with the same architecture as the target, and not guaranteeing timing accuracy. The most accurate setup was the gem5 simulator using a simplified cache system and an Out-of-Order detailed ARM CPU model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 63
Series
TRITA-ICT-EX ; 2016:165
Keyword [en]
Benchmarking, emulation, GEM5, KVM, Matlab, Multicore, PARSEC, QEMU, signal filtering, simulation, virtual platforms
National Category
Computer Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-198665OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-198665DiVA, id: diva2:1058030
Subject / course
Computer Science
Educational program
Master of Science - Embedded Systems
Examiners
Available from: 2016-12-20 Created: 2016-12-20 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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