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Towards Sentient Chips: Self-Awareness through On-Chip Sensemaking

Nikil Dutt - Center for Embedded Computer Systems (CECS)

Abstract - While the notion of self-awareness has a long history in biology, psychology, medicine, engineering and (more recently) computing, we are seeing the emerging need for self-awareness in the context of complex many-core chips that must address the (often conflicting) challenges of resiliency, energy, heat, cost, performance, security, etc. in the face of highly dynamic operational behaviors and environmental conditions. In this talk I will present the concept of CyberPhysical-Systems-on-Chip (CPSoC), a new class of sensor-actuator rich many-core computing platforms that intrinsically couples on-chip and cross-layer sensing and actuation to enable self-awareness. Unlike traditional MultiProcessor Systems-on-Chip (MPSoCs), CPSoC is distinguished by an intelligent co-design of the control, communication, and computing system that interacts with the physical environment in real-time in order to modify the system’s behavior so as to adaptively achieve desired objectives and Quality-of-Service (QoS). The CPSoC design paradigm enables self-awareness (i.e., the ability of the system to observe its own internal and external behaviors such that it is capable of making judicious decision) and (opportunistic) adaptation using the concept of cross-layer physical and virtual sensing and actuations applied across different layers of the hardware/software system stack. The closed loop control used for adaptation to dynamic variation -- commonly known as the observe-decide-act (ODA) loop -- is implemented using an adaptive, reflexive middleware layer. The learning abilities of CPSoC provide a unified interface API for sensor and actuator fusion along with the ability to improve autonomy in system management. The CPSoC paradigm is the first step towards a holistic software/hardware effort to make complex chips “sentient”.

Short bio - Nikil Dutt is a Chancellor's Professor of CS, Cognitive Sciences, and EECS at the University of California, Irvine. He received a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1989). His research interests are in embedded systems design automation, computer architecture, optimizing compilers, system specification techniques, distributed embedded systems, and brain-inspired architectures and computing. He has received numerous best paper awards and is coauthor of 7 books. Professor Dutt served as EiC of ACM TODAES (2003-2008) and as AE for ACM TECS and IEEE TVLSI. He has served on the steering, organizing, and program committees of several premier CAD and Embedded System Design conferences and workshops, and serves or has served on the advisory boards of ACM SIGBED, ACM SIGDA, ACM TECS and IEEE ESL. Professor Dutt is a Fellow of the IEEE, an ACM Distinguished Scientist, and recipient of the IFIP Silver Core Award.