From self-driving cars to high dynamic range (HDR) imaging, the demand for image-based applications is growing quickly. In mobile systems, these applications place particular strain on performance and energy efficiency. As traditional memory systems are optimized for 1D memory access, they are unable to efficiently exploit the multi-dimensional locality characteristics of image-based applications which often operate on sub-regions of 2D and 3D image data. We have developed a new Patch Memory System (PMEM) tailored to application domains that process 2D and 3D data streams. PMEM supports efficient multidimensional addressing, automatic handling of image boundaries, and efficient caching and prefetching of image data. In addition to an optimized cache, PMEM includes hardware for offloading structured address calculations from processing units. We improve average energy-delay by 26% compared to EVA, a memory system for computer vision applications. Compared to a traditional cache, our results show that PMEM can reduce processor energy by 34% for a selection of CV and IP applications, leading to system performance improvement of up to 32% and energy-delay product improvement of 48–86% on the applications in this study.
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