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In recent years multi-core processors have seen broad adoption in application domains ranging from embedded systems through general-purpose computing to large-scale data centres. Simulation technology for multi-core systems, however, lags behind and does not provide the simulation speed required to effectively support design space exploration and parallel software development. While state-of-the-art instruction set simulators (ISS) for single-core machines reach or exceed the performance levels of speed-optimised silicon implementations of embedded processors, the same does not hold for multi-core simulators where large performance penalties are to be paid. In this paper we develop a fast and scalable simulation methodology for multi-core platforms based on parallel and just-in-time (JIT) dynamic binary translation (DBT). Our approach can model large-scale multi-core configurations, does not rely on prior profiling, instrumentation, or compilation, and works for all binaries targeting a state-of-the-art embedded multi-core platform implementing the ARCompact instruction set architecture (ISA). We have evaluated our parallel simulation methodology against the industry standard Splash-2 and EEMBC MULTIBENCH benchmarks and demonstrate simulation speeds up to 25,307 Mips on a 32-core ×86 host machine for as many as 2048 target processors whilst exhibiting minimal and near constant overhead.
Date of Conference: 18-21 July 2011