Branch vanguard: Decomposing branch functionality into prediction and resolution instructions

Daniel S. McFarlin, Craig Zilles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

While control speculation is highly effective for generating good schedules in out-of-order processors, it is less effective for in-order processors because compilers have trouble scheduling in the presence of unbiased branches, even when those branches are highly predictable. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel architectural branch decomposition that separates the prediction and deconvergence point of a branch from its resolution, which enables the compiler to profitably schedule across predictable, but unbiased branches. We show that the hardware support for this branch architecture is a trivial extension of existing systems and describe a simple code transformation for exploiting this architectural support. As architectural changes are required, this technique is most compelling for a dynamic binary translation-based system like Project Denver. We evaluate the performance improvements enabled by this transformation for several in-order configurations across the SPEC 2006 benchmark suites. We show that our technique produces a Geomean speedup of 11% for SPEC 2006 Integer, with speedups as large as 35%. As floating point benchmarks contain fewer unbiased, but predictable branches, our Geomean speedup on SPEC 2006 FP is 7%, with a maximum speedup of 26%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISCA 2015 - 42nd Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, Conference Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages323-335
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334020
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 13 2015
Event42nd Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2015 - Portland, United States
Duration: Jun 13 2015Jun 17 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Computer Architecture
Volume13-17-June-2015
ISSN (Print)1063-6897

Other

Other42nd Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2015
CountryUnited States
CityPortland
Period6/13/156/17/15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture

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