Dynamic Data Dependence Tracking and Its Application to Branch Prediction
To continue to improve processor performance, microarchitects seek to increase the effective instruction level parallelism (ILP) that can be exploited in applications. A fundamental limit to improving ILP is data dependences among instructions. If data dependence information is available at run-time, there are many uses to improve ILP. Prior published examples include decoupled branch exectuion architectures and critical instruction detection.
In this paper, we describe an efficient hardware mechanism to dynamically track the data dependence chains of the instructions in the pipeline. This information is available on a cycle-by-cycle basis to the microengine for optimizing its perfromance. We then use this design in a new value-based branch prediction design using Available Register Value Information (ARVI). From the use of data dependence information, the ARVI branch predictor has better prediction accuracy over a comparably sized hybrid branch perdictor. With ARVI used as the second-level branch predictor, the improved prediction accuracy results in a 12.6% performance improvement on average across the SPEC95 integer benchmark suite.