Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Hank Dietz

Abstract

Due to the growing mismatch between processor performance and memory latency, many dynamic mechanisms which are “invisible” to the user have been proposed: for example, trace caches and automatic pre-fetch units. However, these dynamic mechanisms have become inadequate due to implicit memory accesses that have become so expensive. On the other hand, compiler-visible mechanisms like SWAR (SIMD Within A Register) and LARs (Line Associative Registers) are potentially more effective at improving data access performance. This thesis investigates applying the same ideas to improve instruction access.

ILAR (Instruction LARs) store instructions in wide registers. Instruction blocks are explicitly loaded into ILAR, using block compression to enhance memory bandwidth. The control flow of the program then refers to instructions directly by their position within an ILAR, rather than by lengthy memory addresses. Because instructions are accessed directly from within registers, there is no implicit instruction fetch from memory. This thesis proposes an instruction set architecture for ILAR, investigates a mechanism to load ILAR using the best available block compression algorithm and also develop hardware descriptions for both ILAR and a conventional memory cache model so that performance comparisons could be made on the instruction fetch stage.

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