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Number of register file ports in implementations
Author: Agner Date: 2017-08-28 01:35
Hubert Lamontagne wrote:
On FPGAs, which I think would make sense for a test implementation, register files with lots of ports are an issue... especially with multiple write ports with no limitations on which registers are concurrently written to.


What do you think of an implementation like this:


There is a permanent register file, but no temporary register files. Temporary register values are stored instead in the instructions that need them in the reservation station. Each instruction has its register operands replaced by their values immediately after the decode stage if the values are available in the permanent register file. Register operands that are not yet available are replaced by the tag of the pending instruction that will produce the value. Each ALU has a write port that writes the result to all pending instructions that needs it, as well as to the permanent register file. ForwardCom does not allow instructions with more than one output value.


So we will need four or five register read ports in the early stage in the pipeline for reading the permanent register file, but no read ports for a huge temporary register file.


Vectors are implemented as follows. The pipeline is split into 64-bit lanes. Each lane has its own 64-bit register file, reservation station, pipeline, and 64-bit ALU. We can add as many 64-bit lanes as we need to support a certain vector length. There is one scheduler which controls all the lanes. This can run smoothly and fast as long as there is no exchange of data between the lanes. Instructions that move data between the lanes, such as broadcast and permute, are implemented in a separate unit with a single bidirectional data path to all the lanes. Such instructions will take one or two clock cycles extra, as they do in x86 processors.


The in-order front end has its own ALU's which can handle simple integer instructions. Simple instructions on general purpose registers are executed here if their operands are available (as I have proposed in a previous post). Loop conters and simple branches will be executed in the front end so that the instructions of the loop body are sent to the out-of-order back end with the loop counter replaced by its value. This will reduce the branch misprediction penalty. Registers used for memory pointers and indexes will also mostly be resolved in the front end so that the memory operands can be fetched early.

 
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