Exploiting Dead Value Information

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We describe Dead Value Information (DVI) and introduce three new optimizations which exploit it. DVI provides assertions that certain register values are dead, meaning they will not be read before being overwritten. The processor can use DVI to track dead registers and dynamically eliminate unnecessary save and restore instructions from the execution stream at procedure calls and context switches. Our results indicate that dynamic saves and restore instances can be reduced by 46% for procedure calls and by 51% for context switches. In addition, save/restore elimination for procedure calls can improve overall performance by up to 5%. DVI also allows the processor manage physical registers to efficiently, reducing the size requirements of the physical register file. When the system clock rate is proportional to the register file cycle time, this optimization can improve performance. All of these optimizations can be supported with only a few new instructions and minimal additional hardware structures.

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Copyright 1997 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the 30th annual ACM/IEEE international symposium on Microarchitecture, pages 125-135. This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to pubs-permissions@ieee.org. By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it. NOTE: At the time of publication, authors Milo M. Martin and Amir Roth were affiliated with the University of Wisconsin. Currently (March 2007), they are faculty members in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
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