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Register bypassing is a popular and powerful architectural feature to improve processor performance in pipelined processors by eliminating certain data hazards. However, extensive bypassing comes with a significant impact on cycle time, area, and power consumption of the processor. Recent research therefore advocates the use of partial bypassing in a processor. However, accurate performance evaluation of partially bypassed processors is still a challenge, primarily due to the lack of bypass-sensitive retargetable compilation techniques. No existing partial bypass exploration framework estimates the power and area overhead of partial bypassing. As a result, the designers end up making suboptimal design decisions during the exploration of partial bypass design space. This paper presents PBExplore - an automatic design-space-exploration framework for register bypasses. PBExplore accurately evaluates the performance of a partially bypassed processor using a bypass-sensitive compilation technique. It synthesizes the bypass control logic and estimates the area and energy overhead of each bypass configuration. PBExplore is thus able to effectively perform multidimensional exploration of the partial bypass design space. We present experimental results of benchmarks from the MiBench suite on the Intel XScale architecture on and demonstrate the need, utility, and exploration capabilities of PBExplore.
Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:26 , Issue: 12 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2007