A distributed control path architecture for VLIW processors
14th International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques (PACT'05)
VLIW architectures are popular in embedded systems because they offer high-performance processing at low cost and energy. The major problem with traditional VLIW designs is that they do not scale efficiently due to bottlenecks that result from centralized resources and global communication. Multicluster designs have been proposed to solve the scaling problem of VLIW datapaths, while much less work has been done on the control path. In this paper, we propose a distributed control path
... e for VLIW processors (DVLIW) to overcome the scalability problem of VLIW control paths. The architecture simplifies the dispersal of complex VLIW instructions and supports efficient distribution of instructions through a limited bandwidth interconnect, while supporting compressed instruction encodings. DVLIW employs a multicluster design where each cluster contains a local instruction memory that provides all intra-cluster control. All clusters have their own program counter and instruction sequencing capabilities, thus instruction execution is completely decentralized. The architecture executes multiple instruction streams at the same time, but these streams collectively function as a single logical instruction stream. Simulation results show that DVLIW processors reduce the number of cross-chip control signals by approximately two orders of magnitude while incurring a small performance overhead to explicitly manage the instruction streams.