Quantitative Characterization of the Software Layer of a HW/SW Co-Designed Processor

Jose Cano Reyes, Rakesh Kumar, Aleksandar Brankovic, Demos Pavlou, Kyriakos Stavrou, Enric Gibert, Alejandro Martínez, Antonio González

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


HW/SW co-designed processors currently have a renewed interest due to their capability to boost performance without running into the power and complexity walls. By employing a software layer that performs dynamic binary translation and applies aggressive optimizations through exploiting the runtime behaviour, these hybrid architectures provide better performance/watt. However, a poorly designed software layer can result in significant translations/optimization overheads that may offset its benefits. This work presents a detailed characterization of the software layer of a HW/SW co-designed processor using a variety of benchmark suites/ We observe that the performance of the software layer is very sensitive to the characteristics of the emulated application with a variance of more than 50%. We also show that the interaction between the software layer and the emulated application, while sharing the microarchitectural resources, can have 0-20% impact of performance. Finally, we identify some key elements which should be further investigated to reduce the observed variations in performance. The paper provides critical insights to improve the software layer design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorkload Characterization (IISWC), 2016 IEEE International Symposium on
Place of PublicationProvidence, RI, USA
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-3896-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-5090-3897-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016
Event2016 IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization - Providence, United States
Duration: 25 Sep 201627 Sep 2016


Conference2016 IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization
Abbreviated titleIISWC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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