Processor Pipelines and Static Worst-Case Execution Time Analysis
Sammanfattning: Worst-Case Execution Time (WCET) estimates for programs are necessary when building real-time systems. They are used to ensure timely responses from interrupts, to guarantee the throughput of cyclic tasks, as input to scheduling and schedule analysis algorithms, and in many other circumstances. Traditionally, such estimates have been obtained either by measurements or labor-intensive manual analysis, which is both time consuming and error-prone. Static worst-case execution time analysis is a family of techniques that promise to quickly provide safe execution time estimates for real-time programs, simultaneously increasing system quality and decreasing the development cost. This thesis presents several contributions to the state-of-the-art in WCET analysis.We present an overall architecture for WCET analysis tools that provides a framework for implementing modules. Within the stable interfaces provided, modules can be independently replaced, making it easy to customize a tool for a particular target and perform performance-precision trade-offs.We have developed concrete techniques for analyzing and representing the timing behavior of programs running on pipelined processors. The representation and analysis is more powerful than previous approaches in that pipeline timing effects across more than pairs of instructions can be handled, and in that no assumptions are made about the program structure. The analysis algorithm relies on a trace-driven processor simulator instead of a special-purpose processor model. This allows us to use existing simulators to adapt the analysis to a new target platform, reducing the retargeting effort.We have defined a formal mathematical model of processor pipelines, which we use to investigate the properties of pipelines and WCET analysis. We prove several interesting properties of processors with in-order issue, such as the freedom from timing anomalies and the fundamental safety of WCET analysis for certain classes of pipelines. We have also constructed a number of examples that demonstrate that tight and safe WCET analysis for pipelined processors might not be as easy as once believed.Considering the link between the analysis methods and the real world, we discuss how to build accurate software models of processor hardware, and the conditions under which accuracy is achievable.
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