Re: [perfmon2] IV.3 - AMD IBS

From: Rob Fowler
Date: Mon Jun 22 2009 - 10:19:29 EST

Ingo Molnar wrote:

How is AMD IBS going to be implemented?

IBS has two separate sets of registers. One to capture fetch
related data and another one to capture instruction execution
data. For each, there is one config register but multiple data
registers. In each mode, there is a specific sampling period and
IBS can interrupt.

It looks like you could define two pseudo events or event types
and then define a new record_format and read_format. That formats
would only be valid for an IBS event.

Is that how you intend to support IBS?

That is indeed one of the ways we thought of, not really nice, but
then, IBS is really weird, what were those AMD engineers thinking

Actually, IBS has roots in DEC's "ProfileMe" for Alpha EV67 and later
processors. Those of us who used it there found it to be an extremely
powerful, low-overhead mechanism for directly collecting information about
how well the micro-architecture is performing. In particular, it can tell
you, not only which instructions take a long time to traverse the pipe, but
it also tells you which instructions delay other instructions and by how much.
This is extremely valuable if you are either working on instruction scheduling
in a compiler, or are modifying a program to give the compiler the opportunity
to do a good job.

A core group of engineers who worked on Alpha went on to AMD.

An unfortunate problem with IBS on AMD is that good support isn't common in the "mainstream"
open source community.

Code Analyst from AMD, also involving ex-DEC engineers, is
the only place where it is supported at all decently throughout the tool chain.
Last time I looked, there was a tweaked version of oprofile underlying CA.
I haven't checked to see whether the tweaks have migrated back into the oprofile

The point is - weird hardware gets expressed as a ... weird feature
under perfcounters too. Not all hardware weirdnesses can be
engineered away.

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Robert J. Fowler
Chief Domain Scientist, HPC
Renaissance Computing Institute
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
100 Europa Dr, Suite 540
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