Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Sciences - (Ph.D.)

Department

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Alexander D. Stoyenko

Second Advisor

Thomas J. Marlowe

Third Advisor

Phillip A. Laplante

Fourth Advisor

Rajiv Gupta

Fifth Advisor

Bernard Lang

Sixth Advisor

James A. McHugh

Seventh Advisor

Peter A. Ng

Eighth Advisor

Ami Abraham Silberman

Abstract

Although compiler optimization techniques are standard and successful in non-real-time systems, if naively applied, they can destroy safety guarantees and deadlines in hard real-time systems. For this reason, real-time systems developers have tended to avoid automatic compiler optimization of their code. However, real-time applications in several areas have been growing substantially in size and complexity in recent years. This size and complexity makes it impossible for real-time programmers to write optimal code, and consequently indicates a need for compiler optimization. Recently researchers have developed or modified analyses and transformations to improve performance without degrading worst-case execution times. Moreover, these optimization techniques can sometimes transform programs which may not meet constraints/deadlines, or which result in timeouts, into deadline-satisfying programs.

One such technique, speculative execution, also used for example in parallel computing and databases, can enhance performance by executing parts of the code whose execution may or may not be needed. In some cases, rollback is necessary if the computation turns out to be invalid. However, speculative execution must be applied carefully to real-time systems so that the worst-case execution path is not extended. Deterministic worst-case execution for satisfying hard real-time constraints, and speculative execution with rollback for improving average-case throughput, appear to lie on opposite ends of a spectrum of performance requirements and strategies.

Deterministic worst-case execution for satisfying hard real-time constraints, and speculative execution with rollback for improving average-case throughput, appear to lie on opposite ends of a spectrum of performance requirements and strategies. Nonetheless, this thesis shows that there are situations in which speculative execution can improve the performance of a hard real-time system, either by enhancing average performance while not affecting the worst-case, or by actually decreasing the worst-case execution time. The thesis proposes a set of compiler transformation rules to identify opportunities for speculative execution and to transform the code. Proofs for semantic correctness and timeliness preservation are provided to verify safety of applying transformation rules to real-time systems. Moreover, an extensive experiment using simulation of randomly generated real-time programs have been conducted to evaluate applicability and profitability of speculative execution. The simulation results indicate that speculative execution improves average execution time and program timeliness. Finally, a prototype implementation is described in which these transformations can be evaluated for realistic applications.

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