Precise simulation of interrupts using a rollback mechanism

Florian Brandner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Instruction set simulation based on dynamic compilation is a popular approach that focuses on fast simulation of user-visible features according to the instruction-set-architecture abstraction of a given processor. Simulation of interrupts, even though they are rare events, is very expensive for these simulators, because interrupts may occur anytime at any phase of the programs execution. Many optimizations in compiling simulators can not be applied or become less beneficial in the presence of interrupts. We propose a rollback mechanism in order to enable effective optimizations to be combined with cycle accurate handling of interrupts. Our simulator speculatively executes instructions of the emulated processor assuming that no interrupts will occur. At restore-points this assumption is verified and the processor state reverted to an earlier restore-point if an interrupt did actually occur. All architecture dependent simulation functions are derived using an architecture description language that is capable to automatically generate optimized simulators using our new approach. We are able to eliminate most of the overhead usually induced by interrupts. The simulation speed is improved up to a factor of 2.95 and compilation time is reduced by nearly 30% even for lower compilation thresholds. © 2009 by EDAA.
Keyword: Program compilers,Simulators,Computer architecture,Embedded systems,Precise simulation,ON dynamics,Nanotechnology,Restoration,Technical presentations,Simulation-based,Simulation speed,Embedded software,Fast simulation,Computer simulation languages,New approaches,Architecture abstraction,Cycle accurate,Rare event,Instruction set,Architecture description languages
Original languageEnglish
JournalACM International Conference Proceeding Series
Pages (from-to)71-80
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Workshop on Software and Compilers for Embedded Systems -
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …
Conference number: 12


ConferenceInternational Workshop on Software and Compilers for Embedded Systems
Period01/01/2009 → …


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