Hardware

Caches and Predictors for Real-Time, Unobtrusive, and Cost-Effective Program Tracing in Embedded Systems

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Executive Summary

The increasing complexity of modern embedded computer systems makes software development and system verification the most critical steps in the system development. To expedite verification and program debugging, chip manufacturers increasingly consider hardware infrastructure for program debugging and tracing, including logic to capture and filter traces, buffers to store traces, and a trace port through which the trace is read by the debug tools. In this paper, the authors introduce a new approach to capture and compress program execution traces in hardware. The proposed trace compressor encompasses two cost-effective structures, a stream descriptor cache and a last stream predictor.

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