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An Efficient Low-Complexity Alternative to the ROB for Out-of-Order Retirement of Instructions

Research Area: Processor Architecture Year: 2009
Type of Publication: In Proceedings Keywords: ROB-based microprocessor;checkpoint-free out-of-order commit architecture;out-of-order instruction retirement;register reclamation;register reclamation mechanism;superscalar reorder buffer processors;validation buffer;buffer circuits;microprocessor chips;
Authors:
Editor: Antonio Nunez; Pedro P. Carballo
Book title: Digital System Design, Architectures, Methods and Tools, 2009. DSD '09. 12th Euromicro Conference on
Pages: 635 -642
Month: aug.
ISBN: 978-0-7695-3782-5
Abstract:
Current superscalar processors use a reorder buffer (ROB) to support speculation, precise exceptions, and register reclamation. Instructions are retired from this structure in program order, which may lead to significant performance degradation if a long latency operation blocks the ROB head. In this paper, a checkpoint-free out-of-order commit architecture is proposed, which replaces the ROB with a small structure called validation buffer (VB) from which instructions are retired as soon as their speculative state is resolved. An aggressive register reclamation mechanism targeted to this microarchitecture is also devised. Experimental results show that the VB microarchitecture is much more efficient than a ROB-based microprocessor. For example, a 32-entry VB provides similar performance to a 256-entry ROB, while reducing the utilization of other major processor structures.
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