Previous work on DRAM power-mode management focused on hardware-based techniques and compiler-directed schemes to explicitly transition unused memory modules to low-power operating modes. While hardware-based techniques require extra logic to keep track of memory references and make decisions about future mode transitions, compiler-directed schemes can only work on a single application at a time and demand sophisticated program analysis support. In this work, we present an operating system (OS) based solution where the OS scheduler directs the power mode transitions by keeping track of module accesses for each process in the system. This global view combined with the flexibility of a software approach brings large energy savings at no extra hardware cost. Our implementation using a full-fledged OS shows that the proposed technique is also very robust when different system and workload parameters are modified, and provides the first set of experimental results for memory energy optimization with a multiprogrammed workload on a real platform. The proposed technique is applicable to both embedded systems and high-end computing platforms
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