Rapidly increasing design and manufacturing non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs are prompting a shift in electronic design from hardwired application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to the use of software on programmable platforms. However, in order to minimize the power and performance overhead of such processors, we are seeing the introduction of domain or application specific processors such as network and communication processors. The design of such specialized processors requires software development tools such as simulators and compilers. In order to quickly develop these tools for multiple design points under consideration, it is highly desirable to have them synthesized from formal processor descriptions written in Architecture Description Languages (ADLs). In this paper, we present the Mescal Architecture Description Language (MADL). MADL features a two-layer structure, a core layer and an annotation layer, The core layer is based on a formal and flexible microprocessor model - the operation state machine (OSM), which enables MADL to express the concurrency at the operation execution level for a wide range of architectures. We address the challenges faced in designing the core layer to combine the OSM model with techniques for achieving compact processor descriptions. The annotation layer features a generic syntax that allows creating annotation schemes to specify implementation dependent or tool specific information. To show the effectiveness of MADL, we present an MADL-based simulator synthesis framework that has been used to generate efficient cycle accurate simulators and instruction set simulators with very low development effort. We also describe our annotation schemes that enable the extraction of architecture properties for use in instruction scheduling and integer-linear-programming based register allocation. Our experimental results demonstrate the efficacy of MADL as a practical and promising language for the development of programmable platforms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design