An evaluation of the iHARP multiple instruction issue processor
RISC processors have approached an execution rate of one instruction per cycle by using pipelining to speed up execution. However, to achieve an execution rate of more than one instruction per cycle, processors must issue multiple instructions in each processor cycle. This paper evaluates the architectural features of iHARP, a VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) processor with an instruction issue rate of four, which has been developed at the University of Hertfordshire. One of the distinctive features of iHARP is the provision of Boolean guards on all instructions. Every iHARP instruction is only executed at run time if the attached Boolean guard is true. This paper evaluates the benefits of guarded instruction execution and quantifies its performance advantage. Other architectural features considered include instruction issue rate, code size, number of data cache ports, number of register file write ports, number of branch units and addressing mechanisms. The evaluation uses RLS, a resource limited instruction scheduler, specifically developed to statically reorder code for parallel execution on iHARP.