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The Metaflow architecture

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6 Author(s)
Popescu, V. ; Metaflow Technol. Inc., San Diego, CA, USA ; Schultz, M. ; Spracklen, J. ; Gibson, G.
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The Metaflow architecture, a unified approach to maximizing the performance of superscalar microprocessors, is introduced. The Metaflow architecture exploits inherent instruction-level parallelism in conventional sequential programs by hardware means, without relying on optimizing compilers. It is based on a unified structure, the DRIS (deferred-scheduling, register-renaming instruction shelf), that manages out-of-order execution and most of the attendant problems. Coupling the DRIS with a speculative-execution mechanism that avoids conditional branch stalls results in performance limited only be inherent instruction-level parallelism and available execution resources. Although presented in the context of superscalar machines, the technique is equally applicable to a superpipelined implementation. Lightning, the first implementation of the Metaflow architecture, which executes the Sparc RISC instruction set is described.<>

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Micro, IEEE  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 3 )