SIMFLEX: A Fast, Accurate, Flexible Full-System Simulation Framework for Performance Evaluation of Server Architecture

ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review (PER) Special Issue on Tools for Computer Architecture Research, Volume 31, Number 4, pages 31-35, March 2004.

Nikolaos Hardavellas, Stephen Somogyi, Thomas F. Wenisch, Roland E. Wunderlich, Shelley Chen, Jangwoo Kim, Babak Falsafi, James C. Hoe, and Andreas G. Nowatzyk

School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


The new focus on commercial workloads in simulation studies of server systems has caused a drastic increase in the complexity and decrease in the speed of simulation tools. The complexity of a large-scale full-system model makes development of a monolithic simulation tool a prohibitively difficult task. Furthermore, detailed fullsystem models simulate so slowly that experimental results must be based on simulations of only fractions of a second of execution of the modelled system. This paper presents SIMFLEX, a simulation framework which uses component-based design and rigorous statistical sampling to enable development of complex models and ensure representative measurement results with fast simulation turnaround. The novelty of SIMFLEX lies in its combination of a unique, compile-time approach to component interconnection and a methodology for obtaining accurate results from sampled simulations on a platform capable of evaluating unmodified commercial workloads.





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