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A Programmable Hardware Path Profiler

Vaswani, Kapil and Thazhuthaveetil, Matthew J. and Srikant, YN (2005) A Programmable Hardware Path Profiler. In: International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization, 2005. CGO 2005, 20-23 March, California, 217 -228.


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For aggressive path-based program optimizations to be profitable in cost-sensitive environments, accurate path profiles must be available at low overheads. In this paper, we propose a low-overhead, non-intrusive hardware path profiling scheme that can be programmed to detect several types of paths including acyclic, intra-procedural paths, paths for a whole program path and extended paths. The profiler consists of a path stack, which detects paths and generates a sequence of path descriptors using branch information from the processor pipeline, and a hot path table that collects a profile of hot paths for later use by a program optimizer. With assistance from the processor's event detection logic, our profiler can track a host of architectural metrics along paths, enabling context-sensitive performance monitoring and bottleneck analysis. We illustrate the utility of our scheme by associating paths with a power metric that estimates power consumption in the cache hierarchy caused by instructions along the path. Experiments using programs from the SPEC CPU2000 benchmark suite show that our path profiler, occupying 7KB of hardware real-estate, collects accurate path profiles (average overlap of 88% with a perfect profile) at negligible execution time overheads (0.6% on average).

Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional Information: 1990 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.
Department/Centre: Division of Electrical Sciences > Computer Science & Automation
Depositing User: HS Usha
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2005
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:21
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/4080

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