ISCA 2018
Conference paper

Charm: A language for closed-form high-level architecture modeling

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As computer architecture continues to expand beyond software-agnostic microarchitecture to data center organization, reconfigurable logic, heterogeneous systems, application-specific logic, and even radically different technologies such as quantum computing, detailed cycle-level simulation is no longer presupposed. Exploring designs under such complex interacting relationships (e.g., performance, energy, thermal, cost, voltage, frequency, cooling energy, leakage, etc.) calls for a more integrative but higher-level approach. We propose Charm, a domain specific language supporting Closed-form High-level ARchitecture Modeling. Charm enables mathematical representations of mutually dependent architectural relationships to be specified, composed, checked, evaluated and reused. The language is interpreted through a combination of symbolic evaluation (e.g., restructuring) and compiler techniques (e.g., memoization and invariant hoisting), generating executable evaluation functions and optimized analysis procedures. Further supporting reuse, a type system constrains architectural quantities and ensures models operate only in a validated domain. Through two case studies, we demonstrate that Charm allows one to define high-level architecture models concisely, maximize reusability, capture unreasonable assumptions and inputs, and significantly speedup design space exploration.