Published on November 11, 2016 by IEEE Computer Society

Optimizing processors for (a) specific application(s) can substantially improve energy-efficiency. With the end of Dennard
scaling, and the corresponding reduction in energy-efficiency gains from technology scaling, such approaches may become increasingly important. However, designing application-specific processors requires fast design space exploration tools to optimize for the targeted application(s). Analytical models can be a good fit for such design space exploration as they provide fast performance and power estimates and insight into the interaction between an application’s characteristics and the micro-architecture of a processor. Unfortunately, prior analytical models for superscalar out-of-order processors require micro-architecture dependent inputs, such as cache miss rates, branch miss rates and memory-level parallelism. This requires profiling the applications for each cache and branch predictor configuration of interest, which is far more time-consuming than evaluating the analytical performance models.

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