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Field-based branch prediction for packet processing engines

Bermingham, David and Liu, Zhen and Wang, Xiaojun and Liu, Bin (2009) Field-based branch prediction for packet processing engines. In: ICPADS 2009 - 15th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 8-11 December 2009, Shenzhen, China. ISBN 978-1-4244-5788-5

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Network processors have exploited many aspects of architecture design, such as employing multi-core, multi-threading and hardware accelerator, to support both the ever-increasing line rates and the higher complexity of network applications. Micro-architectural techniques like superscalar, deep pipeline and speculative execution provide an excellent method of improving performance without limiting either the scalability or flexibility, provided that the branch penalty is well controlled. However, it is difficult for traditional branch predictor to keep increasing the accuracy by using larger tables, due to the fewer variations in branch patterns of packet processing. To improve the prediction efficiency, we propose a flow-based prediction mechanism which caches the branch histories of packets with similar header fields, since they normally undergo the same execution path. For packets that cannot find a matching entry in the history table, a fallback gshare predictor is used to provide branch direction. Simulation results show that the our scheme achieves an average hit rate in excess of 97.5% on a selected set of network applications and real-life packet traces, with a similar chip area to the existing branch prediction architectures used in modern microprocessors.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Event Type:Conference
Uncontrolled Keywords:computer architecture; microcomputers; packet switching;
Subjects:Engineering > Electronic engineering
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Engineering and Computing > School of Electronic Engineering
Published in:Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Systems. . Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. ISBN 978-1-4244-5788-5
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Official URL:
Copyright Information:©2009 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.
Funders:Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology
ID Code:15529
Deposited On:20 Jul 2010 16:26 by DORAS Administrator. Last Modified 20 Jul 2010 16:26

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