Using gem5 Simulator to Support Design Space Exploration Targeting ARM Architecture

  • Iago de Oliveira Silvestre UFSC
  • Antonio Carlos Beck Filho UFRGS
  • Leandro Buss Becker UFSC


Performance analysis of embedded systems is critical when dealing with Cyber-Physical Systems that require stability guarantees. They typically operate having to respect temporal constraints imposed during the design of the related control system. Until recently, performance analysis was done exclusively by executing the code on the target platform and making measures. Usually code execution/measuring can also be done on simulation software, which offers greater degree of flexibility for designers to conFigure the platform accordingly for the desired tests. However there usually is a common concern whether the results from such simulation software are reliable enough to be used to guide Design alternatives during a project development. This paper presents results obtained from analyzing the performance of control algorithms developed for controlling an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) running on simulated and real ARM embedded platforms. Such analysis is important for mainly three reasons: better understand the timing behavior of the algorithms, evaluate architectural issues related with the embedded platform, and also determine how accurate is the simulation software. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+(with Cortex-A53 processor) is used as reference platform and serves as basis for creating different simulated versions for the analysis. Results showed that gem5 has enough timing precision when compared with results from the real hardware, so it proved to be a useful tool to explore potential hardware and software alternatives when dealing with a project using the ARM architecture. An additional contribution of this work is the creation of a cloud computing environment at Google Colab, making significantly easier the use of gem5 simulator by non-experts.
Palavras-chave: Analytical models, Program processors, Codes, Software algorithms, Computer architecture, Autonomous aerial vehicles, Software, full-system simulation, gem5, embedded computing systems, UAV, DSE
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SILVESTRE, Iago de Oliveira; BECK FILHO, Antonio Carlos; BECKER, Leandro Buss. Using gem5 Simulator to Support Design Space Exploration Targeting ARM Architecture. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE ENGENHARIA DE SISTEMAS COMPUTACIONAIS (SBESC), 11. , 2021, Evento Online. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2021 . p. 40-47. ISSN 2237-5430.