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Chapter: Advanced Computer Architecture : Instruction Level Parallelism

Important Short Questions and Answers: Instruction Level Parallelism

Advanced Computer Architecture - Instruction Level Parallelism

1.  Give few essential features of RISC architecture.


The RISC-based machines focused the attention of designers on two critical performance techniques, the exploitation of instruction level parallelism (initially through pipelining and later through multiple instruction issue) and the use of caches (initially in simple forms and later using more sophisticated organizations and optimizations).


The RISC-based computers raised the performance bar, forcing prior architectures to keep up or disappear.or/ both)


RISC architectures are characterized by a few key properties, which dramatically simplify their implementation:


  All operations on data apply to data in registers and typically change the entire register (32 or 64 bits per register).


   The only operations that affect memory are load and store operations that move data from memory to a register or to memory from a register, respectively.


Load and store operations that load or store less than a full register (e.g., a byte, 16 bits, or 32 bits) are often available.


• The instruction formats are few in number with all instructions typically being one size. These simple properties lead to dramatic simplifications in the implementation of pipelining, which is why these instruction sets were designed this way.


2. Power sensitive designs will avoid fixed field decoding. Why?


In RISC architecture, register specifiers are at a fixed location and decoding is done in parallel with reading registers. This technique is known as 'fixed field decoding'. In this method, we may read a register which we may not use. This doesn't help, but also doesn't hurt the performance. In case of power sensitive designs, it does waste energy for reading an unnecessary register.


3. Give the causes of structural hazards.


4. Give an example of result forwarding technique to minimize data hazard stalls. Is forwarding a software technique?


5. Give a sequence of code that has true dependence, anti-dependence and control dependence in it.


true dependence: Instrns 1,2 (R0)


antidependence: Instructions 3,4 (R1)


output dependence: Instructions 2,3 (F4); 4,5 (R1)


6.       What is the flaw in 1-bit branch prediction scheme?

7.       What is the key idea behind the implementation of hardware speculation?

8. What is trace scheduling? Which type of processors use this technique?


Trace scheduling is useful for processors with a large number of issues per clock, w here conditional or predicated execution is inappropriate or unsupported, and where simple loop unrolling may not be sufficient by itself to uncover enough ILP to keep the processor busy. Trace scheduling is a way to organize the global code motion process, so as to simplify the code scheduling by incurring the costs of possible code motion on the less frequent paths.


There are two steps to trace scheduling. The first step, called trace selection, tries to find a likely sequence of basic blocks whose operations will be put together into a smaller number of instructions; this sequence is called a trace. Loop unrolling is used to generate long traces, since loop branches are taken with high probability.


Once a trace is selected, the second process, called trace compaction, tries to squeeze the trace into a small number of wide instructions. Trace compaction is code scheduling; hence, it attempts to move operations as early as it can in a sequence (trace), packing the operations into as few wide instructions (or issue packets) as possible.


10 .  Mention few limits on  Instruction Level Parallelism.


1.     Limitations on the Window Size and Maximum Issue Count


2.     Realistic Branch and Jump Prediction


3.     The Effects of Finite Registers


4.     The Effects of Imperfect Alias Analysis


11.List the various data dependence.


Ø  Data dependence

Ø  Name dependence

Ø  Control Dependence



12.            What is Instruction Level Parallelism?


Pipelining is used to overlap the execution of instructions and improve performance. This potential overlap among instructions is called instruction level parallelism (ILP) since the instruction can be evaluated in parallel.


13. Give an example of control dependence?


if p1 {s1;}

if p2 {s2;}



S1 is control dependent on p1, and s2 is control dependent on p2


14. What is the limitation of the simple pipelining technique?


These technique uses in-order instruction issue and execution. Instructions are issued in program order, and if an instruction is stalled in the pipeline, no later instructions can proceed.


15. Briefly explain the idea behind using reservation station?


Reservation station fetches and buffers an operand as soon as available, eliminating the need to get the operand from a register.


16. Give an example for data dependence.


Loop: L.D F0,0(R1) ADD.D F4,F0,F2 S.D F4,0(R1) DADDUI R1,R1,#-8 BNE R1,R2,



17. Explain the idea behind dynamic scheduling?


In dynamic scheduling the hardware rearranges the instruction execution to reduce the stalls while maintaining data flow and exception behavior.


18. Mention the advantages of using dynamic scheduling?


It enables handling some cases when dependences are unknown at compile time and it simplifies the compiler. It allows code that was compiled with one pipeline in mind run efficiently on a different pipeline.


19. What are the possibilities for imprecise exception?


The pipeline may have already completed instructions that are later in program order than instruction causing exception. The pipeline may have not yet completed some instructions that are earlier in program order than the instructions causing exception.


20. What are multilevel branch predictors?


These predictors use several levels of branch-prediction tables together with an algorithm for choosing among the multiple predictors.


21. What are branch-target buffers?


To reduce the branch penalty we need to know from what address to fetch by end of IF (instruction fetch). A branch prediction cache that stores the predicted address for the next instruction after a branch is called a branch-target buffer or branch target cache.


22. Briefly explain the goal of multiple-issue processor?


The goal of multiple issue processors is to allow multiple instructions to issue in a clock cycle. They come in two flavors: superscalar processors and VLIW processors.


23. What is speculation?


Speculation allows execution of instruction before control dependences are resolved.


24. Mention the purpose of using Branch history table?


It is a small memory indexed by the lower portion of the address of the branch instruction. The memory contains a bit that says whether the branch was recently taken or not.

25. What are super scalar processors?


Superscalar processors issue varying number of instructions per clock and are either statically scheduled or dynamically scheduled.


26. Mention the idea behind hardware-based speculation?


It combines three key ideas: dynamic branch prediction to choose which instruction to execute, speculation to allow the execution of instructions before control dependences are resolved and dynamic scheduling to deal with the scheduling of different combinations of basic blocks.


27. What are the fields in the ROB?


Instruction type Destination field Value field Ready field


28. How many branch selected entries are in a (2,2) predictors that has a total of 8K bits in a prediction buffer?


number of prediction entries selected by the branch = 8K number of prediction entries selected by the branch = 1K


29. What is the advantage of using instruction type field in ROB?


The instruction field specifies whether instruction is a branch or a store or a register operation


30. Mention the advantage of using tournament based predictors?


The advantage of tournament predictor is its ability to select the right predictor for right branch.

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