Homework 2b - CIS501 Fall 2012

Instructor:Prof. Milo Martin
Due:Wednesday, October 10th at 6pm (If you use a "late period", you can turn it in up to Friday, Oct 12th at 6pm).
Instructions:This is an individual work assignment. Sharing of answers or code is strictly prohibited. For the short answer questions, Show your work to document how you came up with your answers.
Note:This is one part of a two-part assignment (HW2a and HW2b) due on the same day. Please create a separate PDF file for each part and submit them in electronically via Canvas.

Part B

Pipelining and Load Latency. In the five-stage pipeline discussed in class, loads have one cycle of additional latency in the worst case. However, if the following instruction is independent of the load, the subsequent instruction can fill the slot, eliminating the penalty. Using the trace format used in the first assignment (see Trace Format document), this questions asks you to simulate different load latencies and plot the impact on CPI.

Simulation description. Instead of simulating a specific pipeline in great detail, we are going to simulate an approximate model of a pipeline, but with enough detail to capture the essence of the pipeline. For starters, we are going to assume: full bypassing (no stalls for single-cycle operations), perfect branch prediction (no penalty for branches), no structural hazards for writeback register ports, and only loads will have latency of greater than one. Thus, the only stall in the pipeline is load-use stalls of dependent instructions. As loads never set the flags (condition codes), you can also ignore those.

Scoreboard. There are several ways to simulate such a pipeline. One way is to model the pipeline using a "scoreboard". The idea is that every register has an integer associated with it (say, an array of integers). This value represents how many cycles until that value is "ready" to be read by a subsequent instruction. Every cycles of execution decrement these register values, and when a register reaches zero, it is "ready".

When is an instruction ready? If any of an instruction's source (input) registers are not ready (a value greater than zero indicates it isn't ready), that instruction must stall. In addition, we want to avoid out-of-order register file writes. Thus the "ready cycle" of the destination (output) register must be less than the latency of the instruction. That is, this instruction will write the register after any preceding instructions updated that register.

Executing an instruction If an instruction is ready and writes a destination register, it sets its entry in the scoreboard of its destination register (if any) to the latency of the instruction.

Valid register values. Recall that any register specified as "-1" means that it isn't a valid source or destination register. So, if the register source or destination is -1, you should ignore it (the input is "ready" and the output register doesn't update the scoreboard). You may assume the register specifiers in the trace format are 50 or less.

Algorithm. The below simulation algorithm captures the basic idea. Notice that if an instruction can not execute, nothing happens that cycle. Thus, no new instruction is fetched the next cycle. However, all of the ready counts are still decremented. Thus, after enough cycles have past, the instruction will eventually become ready:

next_instruction = true
while (true):
  if (next_instruction):
    read next micro-op from trace
    next_instruction = false

  if instruction is "ready" based on scoreboard entries for valid input and output registers:
    if the instruction writes a register:
      "execute" the instruction by recording when its register will be ready
    next_instruction = true

  advance by one cycle by decrementing non-zero entries in the scoreboard
  increment total cycles counter

Debug trace. To help you debug your code, we've provided some annotated output traces of the first two hundred lines of the trace file (gcc-200-2-cycle.txt and gcc-200-9-cycle.txt). The format for the output is:

0     1 -1 (Ready)    -1 (Ready)     -> 13  -  -------------1------------------------------------
1     2 -1 (Ready)    -1 (Ready)     -> 13  -  -------------1------------------------------------
2     3 -1 (Ready)     5 (Ready)     -> 45  L  ---------------------------------------------2----
3     4 45 (NotReady)  3 (Ready)     -> 44  -  ---------------------------------------------1----
4     4 45 (Ready)     3 (Ready)     -> 44  -  --------------------------------------------1-----
5     5 -1 (Ready)     5 (Ready)     ->  3  L  ---2----------------------------------------------
6     6 -1 (Ready)    -1 (Ready)     ->  0  -  1--1----------------------------------------------
7     7 -1 (Ready)    -1 (Ready)     ->  0  -  1-------------------------------------------------
8     8 -1 (Ready)    -1 (Ready)     -> 12  -  ------------1-------------------------------------

The columns (left to right) are: cycle count, micro-op count, source register one (ready or not ready), source register two (ready or not ready), the destination register, load/store, and the current contents of the scoreboard (the cycles until ready for that register or "-" if zero).

As can be seen above, the first load causes a stall as it is followed by a dependent instruction (notice that the instruction is repeated, as it stalled the first time). However, the second load is followed by an independent instruction, so no stall occurs.

Answer the following questions:

  1. Before running the simulator, first do a by-hand rough calculation of the impacts on CPI of load-to-use stalls. Use the frequency of loads for the trace you calculated in the first assignment to calculate the CPI (cycles per micro-instruction) assuming a simple non-pipelined model in which all non-load instructions take one cycle and loads take n cycles. What is the CPI if loads are two cycles (one cycle load-use penalty)? What about three cycles (two cycle load-use penalty)?

  2. Based on the above simple calculation, plot the CPI (y-axis) as the load latency (x-axis) varies from one to 15 cycles (the line should be a straight line).

  3. Using the simulation described above, add a second line to the graph described above, but use the CPI calculated by the simulations.

  4. When the load latency is two cycles, what is the performance benefit of allowing independent instructions to execute versus not? (Express your answer as a percent speedup.) What about with three cycles?

  5. Modify your simulator to not model stalling due to enforcement of register write order. How significant is this change's impact on reported performance? Based on this finding, why do processors add hardware to enforce register write order?

What to turn in: Turn in the graph (properly labeled), the answers to the questions above, and include your code.


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