Performance and energy efficiency via an adaptive MorphCore architecture




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The level of Thread-Level Parallelism (TLP), Instruction-Level Parallelism (ILP), and Memory-Level Parallelism (MLP) varies across programs and across program phases. Hence, every program requires different underlying core microarchitecture resources for high performance and/or energy efficiency. Current core microarchitectures are inefficient because they are fixed at design time and do not adapt to variable TLP, ILP, or MLP. I show that if a core microarchitecture can adapt to the variation in TLP, ILP, and MLP, significantly higher performance and/or energy efficiency can be achieved. I propose MorphCore, a low-overhead adaptive microarchitecture built from a traditional OOO core with small changes. MorphCore adapts to TLP by operating in two modes: (a) as a wide-width large-OOO-window core when TLP is low and ILP is high, and (b) as a high-performance low-energy highly-threaded in-order SMT core when TLP is high. MorphCore adapts to ILP and MLP by varying the superscalar width and the out-of-order (OOO) window size by operating in four modes: (1) as a wide-width large-OOO-window core, 2) as a wide-width medium-OOO-window core, 3) as a medium-width large-OOO-window core, and 4) as a medium-width medium-OOO-window core. My evaluation with single-thread and multi-thread benchmarks shows that when highest single-thread performance is desired, MorphCore achieves performance similar to a traditional out-of-order core. When energy efficiency is desired on single-thread programs, MorphCore reduces energy by up to 15% (on average 8%) over an out-of-order core. When high multi-thread performance is desired, MorphCore increases performance by 21% and reduces energy consumption by 20% over an out-of-order core. Thus, for multi-thread programs, MorphCore's energy efficiency is similar to highly-threaded throughput-optimized small and medium core architectures, and its performance is two-thirds of their potential.