Branch/jump target prediction

By: Megol (golem960.delete@this.gmail.com), August 10, 2016 2:25 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Linus Torvalds (torvalds.delete@this.linux-foundation.org) on August 10, 2016 12:46 pm wrote:
> Mr. Camel (a.delete@this.b.c) on August 10, 2016 10:43 am wrote:
> >
> > Pentium 4's trace cache was awesome.
>
> .. and by "awesome", I assume you mean "shit"?
>
> It was horrendous crap.

Can't argue against that, however the problems were mostly elsewhere. The primary decoder could only decode one instruction per clock which made startups very costly. Instructions were stored decoded in huge chunks (120 bits? Don't remember) which made the instruction cache small leading to capacity misses with the fill going through the decode bottleneck.

> Thank all Gods that it is gone, and replaced by something saner.
>
> The current loop buffer (DSB - Decode Stream Buffer) is much better, avoids all the problems
> with a trace cache (overlapping instructions) and just seems to work really well.

It does work well but why are you popping up in a thread about bananas talking about dolphins?

> And it has almost nothing in common with the crap that was the P4 trace cache.

So why mention it?

> A trace cache is a horrible horrible idea, while a "uop cache" like the DSB can be a great one. And the
> fundamental difference is that "trace" part. Thinking that you want to cache the instruction flow is a horrible
> idea, because it makes the fundamental mistake of thinking that branches are very predictable. It also makes
> invalidation fundamentally harder, so you will almost certainly have issues with coherency.

What kind of workloads do you run where instruction cache coherency is problematic? Really...
Most branches _are_ very predictable, for those that aren't -> don't create a trace. Fixed.

> In contrast, a small predecoded instruction cache really has none of those issues,
> and gives you everything that a trace cache would give you except for the static trace
> part - but since that was garbage anyway, that's actually a feature, not a bug.

Perhaps you should look up what a trace cache is before stating things like that? The thing about trace caches isn't at all about having pre-decoded instructions (though that can be nice even for RISC pipelines) but to eliminate very complex instruction fetch mechanisms, unrolled BTBs, multi-line fetches etc. Trace caches were a way to continue to scale the instruction delivery mechanism.

> So by all means say yes to uop caches (L0 I$, "DSB", "loop buffer", or whatever you want to call
> them). But don't do traces. It implies a level of static behavior that just isn't true.

It sure is and is supported by research. Even OoO processors run mostly static code traces, the reason VLIWs can't beat them are because there are a few places where dynamical execution helps a lot. A OoO processor with a trace cache would still be dynamic enough for those cases.
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TopicPosted ByDate
Branch/jump target predictionTravis2016/08/09 09:44 AM
  Early decode of unconditional jumpsPeter Cordes2016/08/09 11:35 AM
    Early decode of unconditional jumpsExophase2016/08/09 12:29 PM
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    pipelines are too long, nono name2016/08/09 06:17 PM
      pipelines are too long, noWilco2016/08/10 01:43 AM
        pipelines are too long, noPaul A. Clayton2016/08/10 07:44 PM
    Converged BTB/IcachePaul A. Clayton2016/08/10 07:44 PM
  Branch/jump target predictionsylt2016/08/10 02:27 AM
    Branch/jump target predictionPeter Cordes2016/08/12 03:23 PM
      Branch/jump target predictionsylt2016/08/12 10:35 PM
  Branch/jump target predictionMr. Camel2016/08/10 09:43 AM
    Branch/jump target predictionLinus Torvalds2016/08/10 11:46 AM
      Branch/jump target predictionMegol2016/08/10 02:25 PM
        Branch/jump target predictionLinus Torvalds2016/08/10 04:14 PM
          Branch/jump target predictionDavid Kanter2016/08/11 11:09 PM
            Branch/jump target predictionLinus Torvalds2016/08/12 11:25 AM
          Branch/jump target prediction2016/08/14 04:24 AM
            Branch/jump target predictionMaynard Handley2016/08/14 06:47 AM
              Branch/jump target predictionDavid Kanter2016/08/14 07:13 AM
              Branch/jump target prediction2016/08/16 05:19 AM
            Branch/jump target predictionTim McCaffrey2016/08/14 07:12 AM
              Branch/jump target predictionDavid Kanter2016/08/14 07:18 AM
                Branch/jump target predictionGabriele Svelto2016/08/14 01:09 PM
            Just a thoughtAnon2016/08/14 09:40 AM
              Just a thought2016/08/16 05:58 AM
                Just a thoughtAnon2016/08/16 07:45 AM
                  Just a thought2016/08/16 08:36 AM
            Branch/jump target predictionLinus Torvalds2016/08/14 09:40 AM
              Branch/jump target prediction2016/08/16 05:40 AM
                Branch/jump target predictionRicardo B2016/08/16 06:39 AM
                  Branch/jump target prediction -82016/08/16 08:23 AM
                    Branch/jump target prediction -8anon2016/08/16 09:09 AM
                    Branch/jump target prediction -8Ricardo B2016/08/16 09:33 AM
                      Branch/jump target prediction -8Exophase2016/08/16 10:02 AM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8Ricardo B2016/08/16 10:31 AM
                        SPU hbr instruction (hint for branch)vvid2016/08/16 11:31 AM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8no name2016/08/17 07:16 AM
                    Branch/jump target prediction -8Gabriele Svelto2016/08/16 10:46 AM
                      Branch/jump target prediction -8Etienne2016/08/17 12:27 AM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8Gabriele Svelto2016/08/17 02:52 AM
                    Branch/jump target prediction -8Maynard Handley2016/08/18 09:02 AM
                      Branch/jump target prediction -82016/08/18 05:21 PM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8Maynard Handley2016/08/18 06:27 PM
                          Branch/jump target prediction -8Megol2016/08/19 03:29 AM
                          Part 1/N - CPU-internal JIT2016/08/19 03:44 AM
                        Atom, you're such a comedian.Jim Trent2016/08/18 09:39 PM
                          Atom, you're such a comedian.2016/08/19 02:23 AM
                      Branch/jump target prediction -8Etienne2016/08/19 12:25 AM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8Simon Farnsworth2016/08/19 03:17 AM
                          Branch/jump target prediction -8Michael S2016/08/19 05:39 AM
                          Branch/jump target prediction -8anon2016/08/19 06:29 AM
                            Branch/jump target prediction -8Simon Farnsworth2016/08/19 07:34 AM
                              Branch/jump target prediction -8anon2016/08/19 07:48 AM
                                Branch/jump target prediction -8Exophase2016/08/19 10:03 AM
                                Branch/jump target prediction -8Maynard Handley2016/08/19 10:34 AM
                            Branch/jump target prediction -8David Kanter2016/08/19 11:23 PM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8Ricardo B2016/08/19 06:18 AM
                          Branch/jump target prediction -8Maynard Handley2016/08/19 07:41 AM
                            Branch/jump target prediction -8Michael S2016/08/19 08:26 AM
                              Branch/jump target prediction -8Maynard Handley2016/08/19 12:47 PM
                                Branch/jump target prediction -8Michael S2016/08/21 12:53 AM
                                  Branch/jump target prediction -8Ricardo B2016/08/22 04:17 AM
                                    Branch/jump target prediction -8Michael S2016/08/22 04:58 AM
                                      Branch/jump target prediction -8Ricardo B2016/08/22 06:50 AM
                            Branch/jump target prediction -8Simon Farnsworth2016/08/19 08:28 AM
                              Branch/jump target prediction -8Simon Farnsworth2016/08/19 08:40 AM
                            Branch/jump target prediction -8David Kanter2016/08/22 11:05 PM
                              Branch/jump target prediction -8Maynard Handley2016/08/23 06:49 AM
                      Branch/jump target prediction -8anon2016/08/26 07:00 AM
                        Branch/jump target prediction -8anon2016/08/26 07:14 AM
                Branch/jump target predictionMegol2016/08/19 03:23 AM
          Branch/jump target predictionMegol2016/08/19 06:42 AM
            Branch/jump target predictionMaynard Handley2016/08/19 10:46 AM
              Branch/jump target predictionDavid Kanter2016/08/19 11:34 PM
                Branch/jump target predictionMaynard Handley2016/08/20 06:07 AM
            Branch/jump target predictionsylt2016/08/19 10:48 AM
              Branch/jump target predictionsylt2016/08/19 11:00 AM
              Branch/jump target predictionMegol2016/08/21 09:27 AM
                The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMaynard Handley2016/08/22 02:10 PM
                  The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsExophase2016/08/22 07:55 PM
                    The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsanon2016/08/22 11:36 PM
                      The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsExophase2016/08/23 04:08 AM
                        The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsanon2016/08/23 08:51 PM
                          The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsExophase2016/08/23 10:12 PM
                          The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMaynard Handley2016/08/24 06:38 AM
                            The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsanon2016/08/24 07:26 PM
                    The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMaynard Handley2016/08/23 06:48 AM
                      That's not trueDavid Kanter2016/08/23 08:39 AM
                        That's not trueMaynard Handley2016/08/23 08:56 AM
                      The (apparent) state of trace caches on modern CPUsanon2016/08/23 08:54 PM
                  The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsEric Bron2016/08/25 01:38 AM
                    The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMichael S2016/08/25 02:28 AM
                      The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsEric Bron2016/08/25 06:12 AM
                      The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMaynard Handley2016/08/25 08:50 AM
                        The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMichael S2016/08/25 09:36 AM
                          The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsExophase2016/08/25 10:32 AM
                        The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsEric Bron2016/08/25 10:12 AM
                          The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMaynard Handley2016/08/25 11:01 AM
                            The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsEric Bron2016/08/25 11:20 AM
                              The (wrong) state of trace caches on modern CPUsMaynard Handley2016/08/25 12:34 PM
        Branch/jump target predictionGabriele Svelto2016/08/11 12:15 PM
  Branch/jump target predictionGabriele Svelto2016/08/20 06:21 AM
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