Resource Sharing vs. Performance

June 27, 2007

I wanted to spend a few words on the issue of resource sharing vs. performance. I believe it is trivial for most engineers but a few extra words won’t do any harm I guess.
The issue is relevant most evidently when there is a need to perform a “heavy” or “expensive” calculation on several inputs in a repeated way.

The approaches usually in consideration are: building a balanced tree structure, sequencing the operations, or a combination of the two.

A tree structure architecture is depicted below. The logic cloud represents the “heavy” calculation. One can see immediately that the operation on a,b and c,d is done in parallel and thus saves latency on the expense of instantiating the logic cloud twice.


The other common solution, depicted below, is to use the logic cloud only once but introducing a state machine which controls a MUX, that determines which values will be calculated on the next cycle. The overhead of designing this FSM is minimal (and even less). The main saving is in using the logic cloud only once. Notice that we pay here in throughput and latency! With some more thinking, one could also save a calculation cycle by introducing another MUX in the feedback path, and using one of the inputs just for the first calculation, thereafter using always the feedback path.


One comment

  1. Hi Nir,

    Your blog is awesome!! I’m total fan since you have maintained it very well with excellent posts. Nir, can you post some stuff of Arbiters and various arbitration techniques.

    To people I have a suggestion for a good read- “Skew Tolerant Circuit Design” by David Harris

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