Efficient Dual-ISA Support in a Retargetable, Asynchronous Dynamic Binary Translator

Tom Spink, Harry Wagstaff, Bjoern Franke, Nigel Topham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic Binary Translation (DBT) allows software compiled for one Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) to be executed on a processor supporting a different ISA. Some modern DBT systems decouple their main execution loop from the built-inJust-In-Time (JIT) compiler, i.e. the JIT compiler can operate asynchronously in a different thread without blocking program execution. However, this creates a problem for target architectures with dual-ISA support such as ARM/THUMB, where the ISA of the currently executed instruction stream may be different to the one processed by the JIT compiler due to their decoupled operation and dynamic mode changes. In this paper we present a new approach for dual-ISA support in such an asynchronous DBT system, which integrates ISA mode tracking and hot-swapping of software instruction decoders. We demonstrate how this can be achieved in a retargetable DBT system, where the target ISA is not hard-coded, but a processor-specific module is generated from a high-level architecture description. We have implemented ARM V5T support in our DBT and demonstrate execution rates of up to 1148 MIPS for the SPEC CPU 2006 benchmarks compiled for ARM/THUMB, achieving on average 192%, and up to 323%, of the speed of QEMU, which has been subject to intensive manual performance tuning and requires significant low-level effort for retargeting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 International Conference on Embedded Computer Systems: Architectures, Modeling, and Simulation (SAMOS)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781467373128
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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