Improving the Interface Performance of Synthesized Structural FAME Simulators through Scheduling [abstract] (PDF)
David A. Penry
Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Computer Design (ICCD), October 2015.

Computer designers rely upon near-cycle-accurate microarchitectural simulators to explore the design space of new systems. Hybrid simulators which offload simulation work onto FPGAs (also known as FAME simulators) can overcome the speed limitations of software-only simulators. However such simulators must be automatically synthesized or the time to design them becomes prohibitive. Previous work has shown that synthesized simulators should use a latency-insensitive design style in the hardware and a concurrent interface with the software.

We show that the performance of the interface in such a simulator can be improved significantly by scheduling all communication between hardware and software. Scheduling reduces the amount of hardware/software communication and reduces software overhead. Scheduling is made possible by exploiting the properties of the latency-insensitive design technique recommended in previous work. We observe speedups of up to 1.54 versus the former interface for a multi-core simulator.