On reconfiguring cache for computing

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Kim, Hue-Sung
Tyagi, Akhilesh
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Somani, Arun
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Computer Science

Computer Science—the theory, representation, processing, communication and use of information—is fundamentally transforming every aspect of human endeavor. The Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University advances computational and information sciences through; 1. educational and research programs within and beyond the university; 2. active engagement to help define national and international research, and 3. educational agendas, and sustained commitment to graduating leaders for academia, industry and government.

The Computer Science Department was officially established in 1969, with Robert Stewart serving as the founding Department Chair. Faculty were composed of joint appointments with Mathematics, Statistics, and Electrical Engineering. In 1969, the building which now houses the Computer Science department, then simply called the Computer Science building, was completed. Later it was named Atanasoff Hall. Throughout the 1980s to present, the department expanded and developed its teaching and research agendas to cover many areas of computing.

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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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The number of transistors on chip has dramatically increased within the last decade. A considerable portion of a chip is dedicated to a cache memory in a modern microprocessor chip. However, some applications may not need all the caches for storage. In addition, some applications have embedded computations with a regular structure. The behavior of the applications is static, which implies that a specialized function unit could be beneficial for the application. This presents an opportunity to explore the use of a part of a cache for performing these regular computations. In this paper, we show one such design to convert a cache into a function unit to improve the performance of an application. A reconfigurable cache takes less area than the area of a cache and a function unit together and imposes no time overhead. In order to convert a cache memory to a function unit, we mapped multi-bit output look-up tables (LUTs) into the cache structure. Therefore, the cache can perform computations When it is reconfigured as a function unit.


This is a manuscript of a proceeding published as Kim, Hue-Sung, Arun K. Somani, and Akhilesh Tyagi. "On reconfiguring cache for computing." In Seventh Annual IEEE Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines, pp. 296-297. IEEE, 1999. DOI: 10.1109/FPGA.1999.803704. Posted with permission.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1999