Interface Design and Synthesis for Structural Hybrid Microarchitectural Simulators [abstract] (PDF)
Zhuo Ruan
Masters Thesis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brigham Young University, December 2013.

Computer architects have discovered the potential of using FPGAs to accelerate software microarchitectural simulators. One type of FPGA-accelerated microarchitectural simulator, named the hybrid structural microarchitectural simulator, is very promising. This is because a hybrid structural microarchitectural simulator combines structural software and hardware, and this particular organization provides both modeling flexibility and fast simulation speed. The performance of a hybrid simulator is significantly affected by how the interface between software and hardware is constructed. The work of this thesis creates an infrastructure, named Simulator Partitioning Research Infrastructure (SPRI), to implement the synthesis of hybrid structural microarchitectural simulators which includes simulator partitioning, simulator-to-hardware synthesis, interface synthesis. With the support of SPRI, this thesis characterizes the design space of interfaces for synthesized hybrid structural microarchitectural simulators and provides the implementations for several such interfaces. The evaluation of this thesis thoroughly studies the important design tradeoffs and performance factors (e.g. hardware capacity, design scalability, and interface latency) involved in choosing an efficient interface. The work of this thesis is essential to the research community of computer architecture. It not only contributes a complete synthesis infrastructure, but also provides guidelines to architects on how to organize software microarchitectural models and choose a proper software/hardware interface so the hybrid microarchitectural simulators synthesized from these software models can achieve desirable speedup.