Area-efficient instruction set extension exploration with hardware design space exploration

I. Wei Wu*, Chung-Ping Chung, Jyh-Jiun Shann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1641-1657
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Information Science and Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2011


  • Application-specific instruction-set processor (asip)
  • Area efficient
  • Customizable processor
  • Design space exploration
  • Instruction set extension (ISE)

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