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Flexible and Formal Modeling of Microprocessors with Application to Retargetable Simulation

By Wei Qin and S. Malik


Given the growth in application-specific processors, there is a strong need for a retargetable modeling framework that is capable of accurately capturing complex processor behaviors and generating efficient simulators. We propose the operation state machine (OSM) computation model to serve as the foundation of such a modeling framework. The OSM model separates the processor into two interacting layers: the operation layer where operation semantics and timing are modeled, and the hardware layer where disciplined hardware units interact. This declarative model allows for direct synthesis of micro-architecture simulators as it encapsulates precise concurrency semantics of microprocessors. We illustrate the practical benefits of this model through two case studies- the StrongARM core and the PowerPC-750 superscalar processor. The experimental results demonstrate that the OSM model has excellent modeling productivity and model efficiency. Additional applications of this modeling framework include derivation of information required by compilers and formal analysis for processor validation

Year: 2003
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