Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
Administrative Home Department
Department of Computer Science
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Committee Member 3
Modern superscalar processors highly rely on the speculative execution which speculatively executes instructions and then verifies. If the prediction is different from the execution result, a misspeculation recovery is performed. Misspeculation recovery penalties still account for a substantial amount of performance reduction. This work focuses on the techniques to mitigate the effect of recovery penalties and proposes practical mechanisms which are thoroughly implemented and analyzed.
In general, we can divide the misspeculation penalty into four parts: misspeculation detection delay; stale instruction elimination delay; state restoration delay and pipeline fill delay. This dissertation does not consider the detection delay, instead, we design four innovative mechanisms. Some of these mechanisms target a specific recovery delay whereas others target multiple types of delay in a unified algorithm.
Mower was designed to address the stale instruction elimination delay and the state restoration delay by using a special walker. When a misprediction is detected, the walker will scan and repair the instructions which are younger than the mispredicted instruction. During the walking procedure, the correct state is restored and the stale instructions are eliminated.
Based on Mower, we further simplify the design and develop a Two-Phase recovery mechanism. This mechanism uses only a basic recovery mechanism except for the case in which the retire stage was stalled by a long latency instruction. When the retire stage is stalled, the second phase is launched and the instructions in the pipeline are re-fetched. Two-Phase mechanism recovers from an earlier point in the program and overlaps the recovery penalty with the long latency penalty.
In reality, some of the instructions on the wrong path can be reused during the recovery. However, such reuse of misprediction results is not easy and most of the time involves significant complexity. We design Passing Loop to reduce the pipeline fill delay. We applied our mechanism only for short forward branches which eliminates a substantial amount of complexity.
In terms of memory dependence speculation and associated delays due to memory ordering violations, we develop a mechanism that optimizes store-queue-free architectures. A store-queue-free architecture experiences more memory dependence mispredictions due to its aggressive approach to speculations. A common solution is to delay the execution of an instruction which is more likely to be mispredicted. We propose a mechanism to dynamically insert predicates for comparing the address of memory instructions, which is called “Dynamic Memory Dependence Predication” (DMDP). This mechanism boosts the instruction execution to its earliest point and reduces the number of mispredictions.
Jin, Zhaoxiang, "Mitigating the Effect of Misspeculations in Superscalar Processors", Open Access Dissertation, Michigan Technological University, 2018.