A key advantage of SIMD (Single Instruction stream, Multiple Data stream) architectures is that synchronization is effected statically at compile-time, hence the execution-time cost of synchronization between “processes” is essentially zero. VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) machines are successful in large part because they preserve this property while providing more flexibility in terms of what kinds of operations can be parallelized. In this paper, we propose a new kind of architecture —- the “static barrier MIMD” or SBM — which can be viewed as a further generalization of the parallel execution abilities of static synchronization machines. Barrier MIMDs are asynchronous Multiple Instruction stream Multiple Data stream architectures capable of parallel execution of loops, subprogram calls, and variable execution- time instructions; however, little or no run-time synchronization is needed. When a group of processors within a barrier MIMD has just encountered a barrier, any conceptual synchronizations between the processors are statically accomplished with zero cost — as in a SIMD or VLIW and using similar compiler technology. Unlike these machines, however, as execution continues the relative timing of processors may become less precisely knowable as a static, compile-time, quantity. Where this imprecision becomes too large, the compiler simply inserts a synchronization barrier to insure that timing imprecision at that point is zero, and again employs purely static, implicit, synchronization. Both the architecture and the supporting compiler technology are discussed in detail.
SIMD, VLIW, LSM, SBM, DBM, MIMD, barrier-synchronization, code scheduling, compiler-optimization
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