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L1 instruction-cache misses pose a critical performance bottleneck in commercial server workloads. Cache access latency constraints preclude L1 instruction caches large enough to capture the application, library, and OS instruction working sets of these workloads. To cope with capacity constraints, researchers have proposed instruction prefetchers that use branch predictors to explore future control flow. However, such prefetchers suffer from several fundamental flaws: their lookahead is limited by branch prediction bandwidth, their accuracy suffers from geometrically-compounding branch misprediction probability, and they are ignorant of the cache contents, frequently predicting blocks already present in L1. Hence, L1 instruction misses remain a bottleneck.
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