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Title: Dynamic instruction scheduling and data forwarding in asynchronous superscalar processors
Author: Mullins, Robert D.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Improvements in semiconductor technology have supported an exponential growth in microprocessor performance for many years. The ability to continue on this trend throughout the current decade poses serious challenges as feature sizes enter the deep sub-micron range. The problems due to increasing power consumption, clock distribution and the growing complexity of both design and verification, may soon limit the extent to which the underlying technological advances may be exploited. One approach which may ease these problems is the adoption of an asynchronous design style - one in which the global clock signal is omitted. Commonly-cited advantages include: the ability to exploit local variations in processing speed, the absence of a clock signal and its distribution network, and the ease of reuse and composability provided through the use of delay-insensitive module interfaces. While the techniques to design such circuits have matured over the past decade, studies of the impact of asynchrony of processor architecture have been less common. One challenge in particular is to develop multiple-issue architectures that are able to fully exploit asynchronous operation. Multiple-issue architectures have traditionally exploited the determinism and predictability ensured by synchronous operation. Unfortunately, this limits the effectiveness of the architecture when the clock is removed. The work presented in this dissertation describes in detail the problems of exploiting asynchrony in the design of superscalar processors. A number of techniques are presented for implementing both data forwarding and dynamic scheduling mechanisms, techniques that are central to exploiting instruction-level parallelism and achieving high-performance. A technique called instruction compounding is introduced, which appends dependency information to instructions during compilation, which can be exploited at run-time. This simplifies the implementation of both the dynamic scheduling and data-forwarding mechanisms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available