News ID

EEMBC Developing Standardized Methodology to Measure Energy Consumption With Embedded Processor Benchmark Tests

Bob Decker, Wall Street Communications

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. - Nov. 9, 2004 - In a move to address the growing importance of power and energy efficiency as a selling point for processors, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) plans to add an energy consumption metric to the performance scores it provides for embedded processors tested against its application-focused benchmarks.

The consortium has formed two working groups to establish methodologies for the energy consumption benchmarks. A group addressing energy measurements for hardware platforms and devices is being headed up by Shay Gal-On of PMC-Sierra. A group addressing energy measurements using simulation for intellectual property (IP) processor cores is being headed up by Moshe Sheier of CEVA.

The consortium has additionally engaged the services of David Kaeli, associate professor in Northeastern University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of its Computer Architecture Research Laboratory, to guide its energy benchmark developments. Kevin Kranen, director of strategic programs at Synopsys, has also been actively involved in this process.

EEMBC's members have agreed that the energy metric will be an optional component of the performance benchmark scores published for each processor and will take into account the energy consumed by the benchmarked devices while running each of the consortium's application-focused benchmark suites. Once the standardized methods are finalized, the details of how EEMBC measures energy consumption will be available for download from www.eembc.org.

EEMBC invites companies involved in related activities to join its energy metric development efforts. "Every processor vendor has its own measurement methods, making it nearly impossible to make accurate comparisons among competing vendors," said EEMBC President Markus Levy. "EEMBC's new power metric will fill this knowledge gap by providing data on how much power and energy a processor consumes when running a real application and not just arbitrarily chosen test vectors."

Many processor vendors offer "typical" energy consumption specifications on product datasheets that are difficult to compare with one another. The problem of interpreting these values is exacerbated when designers attempt to compare processor cores for system-on-chip implementations.

"Currently, an industry-standard energy benchmark doesn't exist, and furthermore, the use of different methods, tools, and operating points for power measurements in processor cores makes it quite difficult to compare figures from various vendors side by side," said CEVA's Sheier. "It's beyond question that the energy benchmarks being developed by EEMBC are needed urgently."

Besides providing design engineers with comparable information regarding energy consumption, the new metric will give designers insights into the "cost" of a device's performance in terms of the power budget by allowing a performance/energy number to be derived using the consolidated performance score in each benchmark suite. For example, it will be possible to calculate a "Netmarks per Joule" score for devices tested against EEMBC's networking benchmarks, or a "Telemarks per Joule" score for devices tested against the consortium's telecomm benchmarks.

About EEMBC

EEMBC, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium, develops and certifies real-world benchmarks and benchmark scores to help designers select the right embedded processors for their systems. Every processor submitted for EEMBC® benchmarking is tested for parameters representing different workloads and capabilities in communications, networking, consumer, office automation, automotive/industrial, embedded Java, and microcontroller-related applications. With members including leading semiconductor, intellectual property, and compiler companies, EEMBC establishes benchmark standards and provides certified benchmarking results through the EEMBC Certification Labs (ECL).

Source: Bob Decker, Wall Street Communications