Instruction set extension (ISE) is an effective approach to improve the processor performance without tremendous modification in its core architecture. To execute ISE(s), a processor core must be augmented with a new functional unit, called application specific functional unit (ASFU), which consists of multiple hardware implementation options of ISEs (ISE-HW). Obviously, since ISE-HW increases the production cost of a processor core, minimizing the area size of ISE-HW becomes important for ISE exploration. On the other hand, because of different requirements in space and speed, ISE-HW usually has multiple hardware implementation options. Under pipeline-stage timing constraint, some of these options may have the same performance improvement but entail different hardware costs. According to this phenomenon, the area size of ISE-HW can be reduced by performing hardware design space exploration of ISE-HW. Therefore, in this paper, we propose an ISE exploration algorithm that explores not only ISE but also the hardware design space of ISE-HW. Compared with the previous research, our approach resulted in significant improvement in area efficiency and the execution performance.
- Application-specific instruction-set processor (asip)
- Area efficient
- Customizable processor
- Design space exploration
- Instruction set extension (ISE)