The Aladdin Approach to Accelerator Design and Modeling

Yakun Sophia Shao, Brandon Reagen, Gu Yeon Wei, David Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hardware specialization, in the form of datapath and control circuitry customized to particular algorithms or applications, promises impressive performance and energy advantages compared to traditional architectures. Current research in accelerators relies on RTL-based synthesis flows to produce accurate timing, power, and area estimates. Such techniques not only require significant effort and expertise but also are slow and tedious to use, making large design space exploration infeasible. To overcome this problem, the authors developed Aladdin, a pre-RTL, power-performance accelerator modeling framework and demonstrated its application to system-on-chip (SoC) simulation. Aladdin estimates performance, power, and area of accelerators within 0.9, 4.9, and 6.6 percent with respect to RTL implementations. Integrated with architecture-level general-purpose core and memory hierarchy simulators, Aladdin provides researchers with a fast but accurate way to model the power and performance of accelerators in an SoC environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7106399
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Micro
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • design space exploration
  • hardware accelerators
  • modeling and simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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