Low-Cost Microarchitectural Techniques for Enhancing the Prediction of Return Addresses on High-Performance Trace Cache Processors
This paper discusses the effects of the prediction of return addresses in high-performance processors designed with trace caches. We show that a traditional return address stack used in such a processor predicts return addresses poorly if a trace cache line contains a function call and a return. This situation can often be observed for processors demanding aggressive instruction fetch bandwidth. Thus, we propose two potential schemes to improve the prediction accuracy of return addresses. We demonstrate that the proposed schemes increase the return address prediction rates reasonably using minimal hardware support. We also analyze the effects of various trace cache configurations on the return address prediction accuracy such as trace cache set associativity, cache size and line size. Our experimental results show that the average return address prediction accuracy across several benchmarks can be up to 11% better than a traditional return address stack in a high-performance processor with a trace cache.
KeywordsFunction Call Cache Size Cache Line Return Address Return Instruction
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