SC16 Salt Lake City, UT

111. A Comparison of x86 Computer Architecture Simulators

Authors: Ayaz Akram (Western Michigan University)Lina Sawalha (Western Michigan University)

Abstract: Simulation is used as a primary performance evaluation methodology in most computer architecture publications. There is not much literature dealing with the evaluation of simulators by comparing them to each other and to the state-of-the-art processors. The absence of performance validation of simulators may cause experimental errors that can lead to incorrect conclusions. This work compares features and experimental errors of four modern x86 computer architecture simulators for both single and multicore runs. It also compares the performance of simulators amongst each other. We configured the simulators to model Intel's high-performance processor, Core-i7 Haswell microarchitecture based CPU. Then we quantified the experimental errors and evaluated the accuracy of such an approach. The selected simulators for this study have diverse design strategies with respect to detail and abstraction. All of them are contemporary simulators with active development.

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