Hardware/Software Support and Algorithms for Dynamic Backlight Scaling in TFT LCDs
B2Sim: A Fast Micro-Architecture Simulator Based on Basic Block Characterization — State-of-the-art architectural simulators support cycle accurate pipeline execution of application programs. However, it takes days and weeks to complete the simulation of even a moderate-size program. During the execution of a program, program behavior does not change randomly but changes over time in a predictable/periodic manner. This behavior provides the opportunity to limit the use of a pipeline simulator. More precisely, in a CODED-06 paper, we presented a hybrid simulation engine, named B2Sim for (cycle-characterized) Basic Block based Simulator, where a fast cache simulator e.g., sim-cache and a slow pipeline simulator e.g., sim-outorder are employed together. B2Sim reduces the runtime of architectural simulation engines by making use of the instruction behavior within executed basic blocks. We integrated B2Sim into SimpleScalar and achieved on average a factor of 3.3 times speedup on the SPEC2000 benchmark and Media-bench programs compared to conventional pipeline simulator while maintaining the accuracy of the simulation results with less than 1% CPI error on average.
Backlight Dimming in Power-Aware Mobile Displays — In a DAC-06 paper, we introduced a temporally-aware backlight scaling technique for video streams. The goal is to maximize energy saving in the display system by means of dynamic backlight dimming subject to a video distortion tolerance. The video distortion comprises of (1) an intra-frame (spatial) distortion component due to frame-sensitive backlight scaling and transmittance function tuning and (2) an inter-frame (temporal) distortion component due to large-step backlight dimming across frames modulated by the psychophysical characteristics of the human visual system. The proposed backlight scaling technique is capable of efficiently computing the flickering effect online and subsequently using a measure of the temporal distortion to appropriately adjust the slack on the intra-frame spatial distortion, thereby, achieving a good balance between the two sources of distortion while maximizing the backlight dimming-driven energy saving in the display system and meeting an overall video quality figure of merit.
The proposed dynamic backlight scaling approach is amenable to highly efficient hardware realization and has been implemented on the Apollo Testbed II. Actual current measurements demonstrate the effectiveness of proposed technique compared to the previous backlight dimming techniques, which have ignored the temporal distortion effect.
DTM: Dynamic Tone Mapping for Backlight Scaling — In a DAC-05 paper, we presented an approach for pixel transformation of the displayed image to increase the potential energy saving of the backlight scaling method. The proposed approach takes advantage of human visual system (HVS) characteristics and tries to minimize distortion between the perceived brightness values of the individual pixels in the original image and those of the backlight-scaled image. This is in contrast to previous backlight scaling approaches which simply match the luminance values of the individual pixels in the original and backlight-scaled images. Moreover, the proposed dynamic backlight scaling approach, which is based on tone mapping, is amenable to highly efficient hardware realization because it does not need information about the histogram of the displayed image. Experimental results show that the dynamic tone mapping for backlight scaling method results in about 35% power saving with an effective distortion rate of 5% and 55% power saving for a 20% distortion rate.
HEBS: Histogram Equalization for Backlight Scaling — In a DATE-05 paper, we presented a method for finding a pixel transformation function that minimizes the backlight intensity while maintaining a pre-specified image distortion level for a liquid crystal display. This is achieved by first finding a pixel transformation function, which maps the original image histogram to a new histogram with lower dynamic range. Next the contrast of the transformed image is enhanced so as to compensate for the brightness loss that arises from backlight dimming. The proposed approach relies on an accurate definition of the image distortion, which accounts for both the pixel value differences and a model of the human visual system and is amenable to highly efficient hardware realization. Experimental results show that histogram equalization for backlight scaling results in about 45% power saving with an effective distortion rate of 5% and 65% power saving for a 20% distortion rate. This is higher power savings compared to previously reported dynamic backlight scaling approaches.