Cross Binary Simulation Points

Erez Perelman, Jeremy Lau, Harish Patil, Aamer Jaleel, Greg Hamerly, and Brad Calder

In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software (ISPASS), March 2007


Architectures are usually compared by running the same workload on each architecture and comparing performance. When a single compiled binary of a program is executed on many different architectures, techniques like SimPoint can be used to find a small set of samples that represent the majority of the program's execution. Architectures can be compared by simulating their behavior on the code samples selected by SimPoint, to quickly determine which architecture has the best performance.

Architectural design space exploration becomes more difficult when different binaries must be used for the same program. These cases arise when evaluating architectures that include ISA extensions, and when evaluating compiler optimizations. This problem domain is the focus of our paper. When multiple binaries are used to evaluate a program, one approach is to create a separate set of simulation points for each binary. This approach works reasonably well for many applications, but breaks down when the simulation points chosen for the different binaries emphasize different parts of the program's execution. This problem can be avoided if simulation points are selected consistently across the different binaries, to ensure that the same parts of program execution are represented in all binaries.

In this paper we present an approach that finds a single set of simulation points to be used across all binaries for a single program. This allows for simulation of the same parts of program execution despite changes in the binary due to ISA changes or compiler optimizations.