Influence of Memory Hierarchies on Predictability for Time Constrained Embedded Software

Lars Wehmeyer, Peter Marwedel

Safety-critical embedded systems having to meet real-time constraints are expected to be highly predictable in order to guarantee at design time that certain timing deadlines will always be met. This requirement usually prevents designers from utilizing caches due to their highly dynamic, thus hardly predictable behavior. The integration of scratchpad memories represents an alternative approach which allows the system to benefit from a performance gain comparable to that of caches while at the same time maintaining predictability. In this work, we compare the impact of scratchpad memories and caches on worst case execution time (WCET) analysis results. We show that caches, despite requiring complex techniques, can have a negative impact on the predicted WCET, while the estimated WCET for scratchpad memories scales with the achieved Performance gain at no extra analysis cost.

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