Increasing the performance of superscalar processors through value prediction

Arthur Perais 1
1 PACAP - Pushing Architecture and Compilation for Application Performance
Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique , IRISA-D3 - ARCHITECTURE
Abstract : Although currently available general purpose microprocessors feature more than 10 cores, many programs remain mostly sequential. This can either be due to an inherent property of the algorithm used by the program, to the program being old and written during the uni-processor era, or simply to time to market constraints, as writing and validating parallel code is known to be hard. Moreover, even for parallel programs, the performance of the sequential part quickly becomes the limiting improvement factor as more cores are made available to the application, as expressed by Amdahl's Law. Consequently, increasing sequential performance remains a valid approach in the multi-core era. Unfortunately, conventional means to do so - increasing the out-of-order window size and issue width - are major contributors to the complexity and power consumption of the chip. In this thesis, we revisit a previously proposed technique that aimed to improve performance in an orthogonal fashion: Value Prediction (VP). Instead of increasing the execution engine aggressiveness, VP improves the utilization of existing resources by increasing the available Instruction Level Parallelism. In particular, we address the three main issues preventing VP from being implemented. First, we propose to remove validation and recovery from the execution engine, and do it in-order at Commit. Second, we propose a new execution model that executes some instructions in-order either before or after the out-of-order engine. This reduces pressure on said engine and allows to reduce its aggressiveness. As a result, port requirement on the Physical Register File and overall complexity decrease. Third, we propose a prediction scheme that mimics the instruction fetch scheme: Block Based Prediction. This allows predicting several instructions per cycle with a single read, hence a single port on the predictor array. This three propositions form a possible implementation of Value Prediction that is both realistic and efficient.
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Arthur Perais. Increasing the performance of superscalar processors through value prediction. Hardware Architecture [cs.AR]. Université Rennes 1, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015REN1S070⟩. ⟨tel-01235370v2⟩

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