Parallel Dynamic Binary Translator for Efficient Multi-Core Simulation

Published in IJPP, 2012

Recommended citation: Oscar Almer, Igor Böhm, Tobias J.K. Edler von Koch, Björn Franke, Stephen Kyle, Volker Seeker, Christopher Thompson, and Nigel Topham. "A Parallel Dynamic Binary Translator for Efficient Multi-Core Simulation." Published in the International Journal of Parallel Programming.


In recent years multi-core processors have seen broad adoption in application domains ranging from embedded systems through general-purpose computing to large-scale data centres. Simulation technology for multi-core systems, however, lags behind and does not provide the simulation speed required to effectively support design space exploration and parallel software development. While state-of-the-art instruction set simulators (ISS) for single-core machines reach or exceed the performance levels of speed-optimised silicon implementations of embedded processors, the same does not hold for multi-core simulators where large performance penalties are to be paid. In this paper we develop a fast and scalable simulation methodology for multi-core platforms based on parallel and just-in-time (JIT) dynamic binary translation (DBT). Our approach can model large-scale multi-core configurations, does not rely on prior profiling, instrumentation, or compilation, and works for all binaries targeting a state-of-the-art embedded multi-core platform implementing the ARCompact instruction set architecture (ISA). We have evaluated our parallel simulation methodology against the industry standard Splash-2 and EEMBC MultiBench benchmarks and demonstrate simulation speeds up to 25,307 Mips on a 32-core x86 host machine for as many as 2,048 target processors whilst exhibiting minimal and near constant overhead, including memory considerations.


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