Low-Power Branch Target Buffer for Application-Specific Embedded Processors

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Executive Summary

In this paper the authors present a methodology for a low-power branch identification mechanism, which enables the design of extremely power efficient branch predictors for embedded processors. The proposed technique utilizes application-specific information regarding the control-flow structure of the program major loops. Such information is used to completely eliminate the power hungry Branch Target Buffer (BTB) lookups which normally occur at every execution cycle. Exact application knowledge regarding the control-flow structure of the program obviates the power expensive BTB operations, thus enabling the utilization of contemporary branch predictors in high-end, yet power-sensitive embedded processors.

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