This paper presents a benchmark, CommBench, for use in evaluating and designing telecommunications network processors. The benchmark applications focus on small, computationally intense program kernels typical of the network processor environment. The benchmark is composed of eight programs, four of them oriented towards packet header processing and four oriented towards data stream processing. The benchmark is defined and various characteristics of the benchmark are presented. These include instruction frequencies, computational complexity, and cache performance. These measured characteristics are compared to the SPEC benchmark which has traditionally been used in evaluating workstation processors. Three examples are presented indicating how CommBench can aid in the design of a single chip network multiprocessor
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