Exploiting Program Microarchitecture Independent Characteristics and Phase Behavior for Reduced Benchmark Suite Simulation

Lieven Eeckhout, John Sampson, and Brad Calder

2005 IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization, October 2005


Modern architecture research relies heavily on detailed pipeline simulation. Simulating the full execution of an industry standard benchmark can take weeks to complete. Simulating the full execution of the whole benchmark suite for one architecture configuration can take months. To address this issue researchers have examined using targetted sampling based on phase behavior to significantly reduce the simulation time of each program in the benchmark suite. However, even with this sampling approach, simulating the full benchmark suite across a large range of architecture designs can take days to weeks to complete.

The goal of this paper is to further reduce simulation time for architecture design space exploration. We reduce simulation time by finding similarity between benchmarks and program inputs at the level of samples (100M instructions of execution). This allows us to use a representative sample of execution from one benchmark to accurately represent a sample of execution of other benchmarks and inputs. The end result of our analyis is a small number of sample points of execution. These are selected across the whole benchmark suite in order to accurately represent the complete simulation of the whole benchmark suite for design space exploration. We show that this provides approximately the same accuracy as the SimPoint sampling approach while reducing the number of simulated instructions by a factor of 1.5.