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Micro-Network Processor – A Processor Architecture for Implementing NoC Routers

Routers are probably the most important component of a NoC, as the performance of the whole network is driven by the routers’ performance. Cost for the whole network in terms of area will also be minimised if the router design is kept small. A new application specific processor architecture for implementing NoC routers is proposed in this study, which will be called μNP (Micro- Network Processor).

The aim is to offer a solution in which there is a trade-off between the high performance of routers implemented in hardware and the high level of flexibility that could be achieved by loading a software that routed packets into a GPP. Therefore, a study including the design of a hardware based router and a GPP based router has been conducted.

In this project the first version of the μNP has been designed and a complete instruction set, along with some sample programs, is also proposed. The results show that, in the best case for all implementation options, μNP was 7.5 times slower than the hardware based router. It has also behaved more than 100 times faster than the GPP based router, keeping almost the same degree of flexibility for routing purposes within NoC.
Authors: Julia Martín Rovira, Francisco Manuel Fructuoso Melero
Source: Jönköping University

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