Automatic instruction scheduler retargeting by reverse-engineering

Matthew J. Bridges, Neil Vachharajani, Guilherme Ottoni, David I. August

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to generate high-quality code for modern processors, a compiler must aggressively schedule instructions, maximizing resource utilization for execution efficiency. For a compiler to produce such code, it must avoid structural hazards by being aware of the processor's available resources and of how these resources are utilized by each instruction. Unfortunately, the most prevalent approach to constructing such a scheduler, manually discovering and specifying this information, is both tedious and error-prone. This paper presents a new approach which, when given a processor or processor model, automatically determines this information. After establishing that the problem of perfectly determining a processor's structural hazards through probing is not solvable, this paper proposes a heuristic algorithm that discovers most of this information in practice. This can be used either to alleviate the problems associated with manual creation or to verify an existing specification. Scheduling with these automatically derived structural hazards yields almost all of the performance gain achieved using perfect hazard information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-238
Number of pages11
JournalSIGPLAN Notices (ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages)
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Automatic retargeting
  • Compilers
  • Instruction scheduling
  • Reverse-engineering
  • Structural hazard


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