Architectural Enhancements for Color Image and Video Processing on Embedded Systems

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Kim, Jongmyon
Wills, D. Scott
Wills, Linda M.
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As emerging portable multimedia applications demand more and more computational throughput with limited energy consumption, the need for high-efficiency, high-throughput embedded processing is becoming an important challenge in computer architecture. In this regard, this dissertation addresses application-, architecture-, and technology-level issues in existing processing systems to provide efficient processing of multimedia in many, or ideally all, of its form. In particular, this dissertation explores color imaging in multimedia while focusing on two architectural enhancements for memory- and performance-hungry embedded applications: (1) a pixel-truncation technique and (2) a color-aware instruction set (CAX) for embedded multimedia systems. The pixel-truncation technique differs from previous techniques (e.g., 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 subsampling) used in image and video compression applications (e.g., JPEG and MPEG) in that it reduces the information content in individual pixel word sizes rather than in each dimension. Thus, this technique drastically reduces the bandwidth and memory required to transport and store color images without perceivable distortion in color. At the same time, it maintains the pixel storage format of color image processing in which each pixel computation is performed simultaneously on 3-D YCbCr components, which are widely used in the image and video processing community. CAX supports parallel operations on two-packed 16-bit (6:5:5) YCbCr data in a 32-bit datapath processor, providing greater concurrency and efficiency for processing color image sequences. This dissertation presents the impact of CAX on processing performance and on both area and energy efficiency for color imaging applications in three major processor architectures: dynamically scheduled (superscalar), statically scheduled (very long instruction word, VLIW), and embedded single instruction multiple data (SIMD) array processors. Unlike typical multimedia extensions, CAX obtains substantial performance and code density improvements through direct support for color data processing rather than depending solely on generic subword parallelism. In addition, the ability to reduce data format size reduces system cost. The reduction in data bandwidth also simplifies system design. In summary, CAX, coupled with the pixel-truncation technique, provides an efficient mechanism that meets the computational requirements and cost goals for future embedded multimedia products.
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