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Performance simulation of software for multiprocessor system-on-a-chips (MPSoC) suffers from poor tool support. Cycle accurate simulation at Instruction Set Simulation level is too slow and inefficient for any design of realistic size. Behavioral simulation, though useful for functional analysis at high level, does not provide any performance information that is crucial for design and analysis of MPSoC implementations. As a consequence, designers are often reduced to manually annotate performance information onto behavioral models, which contributes further to inefficiency and inaccuracy. In this paper, we use structural performance models to provide fast and accurate simulation of software for MPSoC.We generate structural models automatically using GCC with accurate performance annotation while considering optimizations for instruction selection, branch prediction, and pipeline interlock. Our structural models are able to simulate at several orders of magnitude faster than ISS and provide less than 1% error on performance estimation. These models allow realistic MPSoC design space explorations based on performance characteristics with simulation speed comparable to behavioral simulation. We validate our simulation models with several benchmarks and demonstrate our approach with a design case study of an MPEG-2 decoder.
Date of Conference: 19-22 Jan. 2009