Evolving Machine Microprograms

The realization of a control unit can be done using a complex circuitry or microprogramming. The latter may be considered as an alternative method of implementation of machine instructions that can reduce the complexity and increase the flexibility of the control unit. The microcode efficiency and speed are of vital importance for the computer to execute machine instructions fast. This is a difficult task and it requires expert knowledge. It would be interesting and very helpful to have automated tools that, given a machine instruction description, could generate an efficient and correct microprogram. A good option is to use evolutionary computation techniques, which have proved been effective in the evolution of computer programs. In this paper, we intend to show how evolutionary computing techniques could be used to face this problem of generating efficient microprograms. We have developed a microarchitecture simulator of a real machine in order to evaluate an individual and to assign it the fitness value (to determine whether this candidate solution correctly implements the instruction machine). The proposed method is successful in generating correct solutions, not only for the machine code instruction set, but for new machine instructions not included in such set. We have shown that our approach can generate microprogramms to execute (to schedule microinstructions) the machine level instructions for a real machine. Moreover, this evolutive method could be applied to any microarchitecture just by changing the microinstruction set and pre-conditions of each machine instruction to guide evolution.

The poster, the source code of the proposed method and the full-length paper are available for download at http://atc.ugr.es/pedro/ev-micropr

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