This technique seems to me to have considerable potential. Apart from increasing the performance of a system, it could be used to reduce the energy consumption. I use a netbook with a low power Intel Atom processor. This is more than adequate for routine web browsing, email and word processing, but is not sufficient for large application tasks. Having a high performance core would allow for occasional large tasks.
From a practical point of view a small low power processor is all most desktop computer users need. However, they will buy a higher performance unit just in case they need it. This computer will then waste energy by running idle most of the time. If they could buy a computer with a low power and high power core that would save energy, as the high power core would be unused most of the time.
Some desktop computers and laptops already include an ancillary low power chip, but this is only used to boot the computer using a stripped down operating system (usually a version of Linux or Windows CE) for quick casual browsing. The ancillary chip is unused when the main processor is active. It may be feasible to reprogram one of these systems to provide for both processors working at once. A might be to use several low power cores in place of the high performance core. As an example, eight Intel Atom cores might be provided, but normally only one would be used.
Xi Yang (School of Computer Science, CECS ANU)CS HDR MONITORING
CompSys Research Group
TIME: 10:45:00 - 11:15:00
LOCATION: Ian Ross Seminar Room
The power efficiency of asymmetric multicore systems can be improved by executing suitable operating system workload on low power cores. Devices interrupt handling, IO processing, scheduler and background kernel threads are suitable candidate workload.