EEMBC to Roll Out New Multicore Benchmarks

The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium announced plans to roll out new benchmarks that will address multiprocessing systems, multicore processors, and multithreaded processors. The EEMBC(R) effort, which has been underway since mid-2006, is being led by John Goodacre of ARM, who serves as chair of EEMBC’s multiprocessing workgroup.

With the proliferation of multicore processor implementations, the need is growing for performance benchmarks that can give an accurate indication of the value of transitioning from a single core to a multicore system, in addition to determining the impact of system-level bottlenecks, such as those encountered when moving data on and off a multicore chip. EEMBC is addressing this challenge with new multicore benchmark suites that will enable a standardized evaluation of the benefits of concurrency while providing the scalability needed to support any number of multiple cores.

EEMBC’s multicore benchmark software will initially support symmetrical multicore processors with shared memory and will utilize a thread-based API to establish a common programming model.

The benchmarks will target three forms of concurrency, including task decomposition, multiple data stream processing, and the processing of multiple workloads. Task decomposition allows multiple threads to cooperate on achieving a unified goal and demonstrates a processor’s support for fine grain parallelism. Processing of multiple data streams uses common code running over multiple threads and demonstrates how well a solution can scale over scalable data inputs. Finally, multiple workload processing shows the scalability of a solution for general-purpose processing and activates concurrency over both code and data.

To implement this strategy on the benchmark level, EEMBC is developing a test harness that will communicate with the benchmark through an abstraction layer that is analogous to an algorithm wrapper. This test harness will provide a flexible interface to allow a wide variety of thread-enabled workloads to be tested.

“These exciting new benchmarks will show how efficiently multicore processors are able to execute multiple contexts in parallel,” said Shay Gal-On, director of software engineering at EEMBC. “They will thus help drive the development of processors with parallel resources for the embedded market segment, while providing an unbiased method for allowing system developers to compare competing processors.”

In addition to utilizing some of the existing EEMBC benchmarks in its multicore-enabled benchmark suites, EEMBC has begun work on multicore-capable VOIP and H.264 benchmarks.

Non-member companies are encouraged to join the consortium now to participate in the final definition and testing stages. EEMBC’s multicore-enabled benchmarks will be available for licensing in 2007.

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 network storage-related applications. With members including leading semiconductor, intellectual property, and compiler companies, EEMBC establishes benchmark standards and provides certified benchmarking results through the EEMBC Technology Center.

EEMBC’s members include Adaptec, Altera, AMD, Analog Devices, ARC International, ARM, Artifex Software, Atmel, Broadcom, Code Sourcery, esmertec, Freescale Semiconductor, Fujitsu Microelectronics, Green Hills Software, IAR Systems AB, IBM, Imagination Technologies, Improv Systems, Infineon Technologies, Intel, LSI Logic, Marvell Semiconductor, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Mentor Graphics, Microchip Technology, MIPS Technologies, National Instruments, NEC Electronics, NETCLEUS Systems, Nokia, NXP Semiconductors, Oki Electric Industry Co, PA SEMI, PMC-Sierra, Qualcomm, Realtek Semiconductor, Red Hat, Renesas Technology, Sony Computer Entertainment, ST Microelectronics, Sun Microsystems, Tensilica, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, VIA Technologies, and Wind River Systems.

EEMBC is a registered trademark of the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium.