Patent application title: PROCESSING METHOD INCLUDING PRE-ISSUE LOAD-HIT-STORE (LHS) HAZARD PREDICTION TO REDUCE REJECTION OF LOAD INSTRUCTIONS
Sundeep Chadha (Austin, TX, US)
Sundeep Chadha (Austin, TX, US)
Richard James Eickemeyer (Rochester, MN, US)
John Barry Griswell, Jr. (Austin, TX, US)
Dung Quoc Nguyen (Austin, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AG06F938FI
Class name: Electrical computers and digital processing systems: processing architectures and instruction processing (e.g., processors) instruction fetching of multiple instructions simultaneously
Publication date: 2016-04-28
Patent application number: 20160117174
A processing method supporting out-of-order execution (OOE) includes
load-hit-store (LHS) hazard prediction at the instruction execution
phase, reducing load instruction rejections and queue flushes at the
dispatch phase. The instruction dispatch unit (IDU) detects likely LHS
hazards by generating entries for pending stores in a LHS detection
table. The entries in the table contain an address field (generally the
immediate field) of the store instruction and the register number of the
store. The ISU compares the address field and register number for each
load with entries in the table to determine if a likely LHS hazard exists
and if an LHS hazard is detected, the load is dispatched to the issue
queue of the load-store unit (LSU) with a tag corresponding to the
matching store instruction, causing the LSU to dispatch the load only
after the corresponding store has been dispatched for execution.
1. A method of operation of a processor core, the method comprising:
fetching instructions of an instruction stream; dispatching instructions
of the instruction stream by an instruction dispatch unit of the
processor core that dispatches the instructions to issue queues,
according to a type of the instructions; detecting likely load-hit-store
hazards prior to the dispatch of load instructions to an issue queue of a
load-store unit of the processor core; and identifying the likely
load-hit-store hazards to the load-store unit, whereby rejections of the
load instructions by the load-store unit due to load-hit-store hazards is
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the instruction dispatch unit detects store instructions of the instruction stream during the dispatching of the store instructions and stores store address information associated with the store instructions in corresponding entries in a load-hit-store detection table, and wherein the detecting likely load-hit-store hazards comprises detecting load instructions of the instruction stream and comparing the store address information of the entries in the table with load address information of load instructions of the instruction stream.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising: responsive to the detecting of a store operation, writing the store address information associated with the store operation to the load-hit-store detection table and dispatching the store operation to the issue queue of the load-store unit of the processor core; responsive to the detecting of a load instruction, comparing the load address information of the load instruction to entries in the load-hit-store detection table corresponding to store operations occurring earlier in the instruction stream to determine if a likely load-hit-store hazard exists between the load instruction and a given one of the store operations; responsive to the comparing determining that the likely load-hit-store hazard exists between the load instruction and the given store operation, dispatching the load instruction to the issue queue of the load-store unit of the processor core along with a tag identifying the given store operation; and responsive to the comparing determining that the likely load-hit-store hazard does not exist between the load instruction and the given store operation, dispatching the load instruction to the issue queue of the load-store unit of the processor core without the tag.
4. The method of claim 2, wherein the store address information is one or both of an immediate field of the store instruction and one or more base register numbers of the store instruction.
5. The method of claim 3, further comprising: the load-store unit examining a next entry of the issue queue to determine whether or not a next operation is a load instruction with a corresponding tag; the load-store unit, responsive to determining that the load instruction with a corresponding tag is not present, processing the next entry for execution by the load-store unit; the load-store unit examining the next entry of the issue queue to determine whether or not the next operation is a store operation; the load-store unit, responsive to determining that the next operation is a store operation, examining the issue queue to determine whether a load instruction having a corresponding tag matching a tag of the store operation is present; the load-store unit, responsive to determining that the next operation is a store operation, processing the next entry for execution by the load-store unit; and the load-store unit, responsive to determining that the load instruction having the corresponding tag matching the tag of the store operation is present, processing the load instruction for execution by the load-store unit subsequent to processing the next entry.
6. The method of claim 3, further comprising: responsive to detecting a store operation in the instruction stream, comparing entries in the load-hit-store detection table with the store address information of the store operation; and responsive to the comparing detecting a match between the store address information of the store instruction and an entry in the load-hit-store detection table, invalidating the entry in the load-hit-store detection table prior to the instruction dispatch unit storing an entry corresponding to the store instruction in the load-hit-store detection table, whereby only a single valid entry in the load-hit-store detection table contains identical store address information at any time.
7. The method of claim 3, wherein the comparing compares a most-recently-stored matching entry in the load-hit-store detection table that has a match between the load address information of the load instruction and the most-recently-stored matching entry in the load-hit-store detection table, whereby multiple valid entries in the load-hit-store detection table may match a particular load address information, without causing a load-hit-store hazard.
 The present Application is a Continuation of U.S. patent
application Ser. No. 14/522,811, filed on Oct. 24, 2014 and claims
priority thereto under 35 U.S.C. §120. The disclosure of the
above-referenced parent U.S. Patent Application is incorporated herein by
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention is related to processing systems and processors, and more specifically to techniques for predicting load-hit-store hazards at dispatch times to reduce rejection of dispatched load instructions.
 2. Description of Related Art
 In pipelined processors supporting out-of-order execution (OOE), overlaps between store and load instructions causing load-hit-store hazards represent a serious bottleneck in the data flow between the load store unit (LSU) and the instruction dispatch unit (IDU). In particular, in a typical pipelined processor, when a load-hit-store hazard is detected by the LSU, the load instruction that is dependent on the result of the store instruction is rejected, generally several times, and reissues the load instruction along with flushing all newer instructions following the load instruction. The above-described reject and reissue operation not only consumes resources of the load-store data path(s) within the processor, but can also consume issue queue space in the load-store execution path(s) by filling the load-store issue queue with rejected load instructions that must be reissued. When such an LHS hazard occurs in a program loop, the reject and reissue operation can lead to a dramatic reduction in system performance.
 In some systems, the reissued load instruction entries are tagged with dependency flags, so that subsequent reissues will only occur after the store operation on which the load instruction depends, preventing recurrence of the reissue operations. However, rejection of the first issue of the load instruction and the consequent flushing of newer instructions still represents a significant performance penalty in OOE processors.
 It would therefore be desirable to provide a method for managing load-store operations with reduced rejection and reissue of operations, in particular load rejections due to load-hit-store hazards.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invention is embodied in a method that reduces rejection of load instructions by predicting likely load-hit-store hazards. The method is a method of operation of a processor core.
 The processor core is embodied in a processor core supporting out-of-order execution that detects likely load-hit-store hazards. When an instruction dispatch unit decodes a fetched instruction, if the instruction is a store instruction, address information is stored in a load-hit-store detection table. The address information is generally the base registers used to generate the effective address of the store operation in register-based addressing and/or the immediate field of the instruction for immediate addressing. When a subsequent load instruction is encountered, the instruction dispatch unit checks the load-hit-store detection table to determine whether or not an entry in the table has matching address information. If a matching entry exists in the table, the instruction dispatch unit forwards the load instruction with a tag corresponding to the entry, so that the load-store unit will execute the load instruction after the corresponding store has been executed. If no matching entry exists in the table, the load instruction is issued untagged.
 The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular, description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING
 The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives, and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of the invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying Figures, wherein like reference numerals indicate like components, and:
 FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a processing system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating details of a processor core 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating details within processor core 20 of FIG. 2 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 4 is a table depicting entries within LHS detection table 41 of processor core 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 5 is a flowchart depicting a method of dispatching load/store instructions in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 6 is a flowchart depicting a method of issuing load/store instructions in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to processors and processing systems in which rejects of load instructions due to load-hit-store (LHS) hazards is reduced by predicting the occurrence of such hazards using a LHS prediction table to track dispatched stores that may or may not have been issued/executed. Load instructions are examined at dispatch time to determine whether or not a pending store exists that has not been committed for a cache write or that has otherwise been flushed from the load-store execution path. If an LHS hazard is detected, the load instruction is dispatched with an ITAG matching the ITAG of the store instruction corresponding to the entry in the LHS prediction table, so that the load-store unit will issue the load instruction dependent on the store result, i.e., will retain the load instruction in its issue queue until the store instruction is committed or flushed, preventing rejections of load instructions due to identification of LHS hazards during issue of the load instructions.
 Referring now to FIG. 1, a processing system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. The depicted processing system includes a number of processors 10A-10D, each in conformity with an embodiment of the present invention. The depicted multi-processing system is illustrative, and a processing system in accordance with other embodiments of the present invention includes uni-processor systems having symmetric multi-threading (SMT) cores. Processors 10A-10D are identical in structure and include cores 20A-20B and a local storage 12, which may be a cache level, or a level of internal system memory. Processors 10A-10B are coupled to a main system memory 14, a storage subsystem 16, which includes non-removable drives and optical drives, for reading media such as a CD-ROM 17. The illustrated processing system also includes input/output (I/O) interfaces and devices 18 such as mice and keyboards for receiving user input and graphical displays for displaying information. While the system of FIG. 1 is used to provide an illustration of a system in which the processor architecture of the present invention is implemented, it is understood that the depicted architecture is not limiting and is intended to provide an example of a suitable computer system in which the techniques of the present invention are applied.
 Referring now to FIG. 2, details of processor cores 20A-20B of FIG. 1 are illustrated in depicted processor core 20. Processor core 20 includes an instruction fetch unit (IFU) 22 that fetches one or more instruction streams from cache or system memory and presents the instruction stream(s) to an instruction decode unit 24. An instruction dispatch unit (IDU) 26 dispatches the decoded instructions to a number of internal processor pipelines. The processor pipelines each include one of issue queues 27A-27D and an execution unit provided by branch execution unit (BXU) 28, condition result unit (CRU) 29, load-store unit (LSU) 30 or floating point units (FPUs) 31A-31B. Registers such as a counter register (CTR) 23A, a condition register (CR) 23B, general-purpose registers (GPR) 23D, and floating-point result registers (FPR) 23C provide locations for results of operations performed by the corresponding execution unit(s). A global completion table (GCT) 21 provides an indication of pending operations that is marked as completed when the results of an instruction are transferred to the corresponding one of result registers 23A-23D. In embodiments of the present invention, a LHS prediction logic 40 within IDU 26 manages a LHS detection table 41 that contains entries for all pending store operations, e.g., all store operations that have not reached the point of irrevocable execution. IDU 26 also manages register mapping via a register mapper 25 that allocates storage in the various register sets so that concurrent execution of program code can be supported by the various pipelines. LSU 30 is coupled to a store queue (STQ) 42 and a load queue (LDQ) 43, in which pending store and load operations are respectively queued for storages within a data cache 44 that provides for loading and storing of data values in memory that are needed or modified by the pipelines in core 20. Data cache 44 is coupled to one or more translation look-aside buffers (TLB) 45 that map real or virtual addresses in data cache 44 to addresses in an external memory space.
 Referring now to FIG. 3, a block diagram illustrating details of IDU 26 within processor core 20 of FIG. 2 is shown. LHS prediction logic 40 provides tracking of pending store operations by generating entries for each store instruction decoded by instruction decode unit 24 in LHS detection table 41. When store instructions are received by IDU 26, address information associated with the store instruction, which in the particular embodiment are the base registers and/or the immediate value used in calculating the effective address (EA) of the store operation, is inserted in LHS detection table 41. The entry is also populated with an instruction tag (ITAG) identifying the particular store instruction, so that the entry in LHS detection table 41 can be invalidated when the particular store instruction completes, along with other information such as the thread identifier for the instruction, the valid bit and the store instruction type, which is used to determine which field(s) to compare for address matching. FIG. 4 shows an exemplary LHS detection table 41 containing two valid entries and one entry that has been retired due to completion/commit of the store instruction to data cache 44 or invalidated due to a flush. When IDU 26 receives a load instruction, LHS prediction logic compares the address information (e.g., immediate field and/or base registers, depending on the type of addressing) of the load instruction with each entry in LHS detection table 41, which may be facilitated by implementing LHS detection table 41 with a content-addressable memory (CAM) that produces the ITAG of the LHS detection table entry given the address information, thread identifier and store instruction type for valid entries. LHS detection table 41 may alternatively be organized as a first-in-first-out (FIFO) queue. The load instruction is then dispatched to issue queue 27D with the ITAG of the entry, in order to cause LSU 30 to retain the load instruction in issue queue 27D until the store instruction causing the LHS hazard in conjunction with the load instruction has issued, completed, or has been otherwise irrevocably committed or flushed. In one embodiment of the invention, the lookup in LHS detection table 41 locates the most recent entry matching the look-up information, so that if multiple matching entries exist in LHS detection table 41, the load instruction will be queued until the last store instruction causing an LHS hazard has been issued/completed/committed/flushed. In another embodiment, before an entry is generated in LHS detection table 41, a look-up is performed to determine if a matching entry exists, and if so, the existing entry is invalidated or updated with a new ITAG. If LHS detection table 41 is full, the oldest entry is overwritten.
 It should be noted that the above-described matching does not generally detect all LHS hazards, since, for example, a store instruction using immediate addressing may hit the same address as a load instruction using register or register indirect addressing, and a matching entry in LHS detection table 41 will not be found for the load. Such an LHS hazard will instead be rejected during the issue phase after the full EA has been computed for both the load and store instructions. However, most likely LHS hazards should be detected under normal circumstances and the number of load rejects due to LHS hazards dramatically reduced. Further, an entry may be found in LHS detection table 41 that is flagged as an LHS hazard and in actuality is not, for example, when a base register value has been modified between a register-addressed load and a preceding register-addressed store using the same base register pair. Therefore, the method detects likely LHS hazards and not guaranteed address conflicts/overlaps. However, such occurrences should be rare compared to the number of actual LHS hazards detected.
 Referring now to FIG. 5, a method of operation of processor core 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, is illustrated in a flowchart. As illustrated in FIG. 5, when an IFU fetches instruction(step 60) and the instruction is decoded (step 61), if the instruction is a store instruction (decision 62), and if there is an existing entry in LHS detection table 41 that matches the base registers (register-based addressing) and/or immediate field (immediate addressing) of the store instruction (decision 63), the existing entry is invalidated, or alternatively over-written (step 64). The base registers and immediate field of the store instruction are written to an entry in LHS detection table 41 (step 65) and the store instruction is dispatched (step 66). If the instruction is not a store instruction (decision 62), but is a load instruction (decision 67), if the base registers (register-based addressing) or immediate field (immediate addressing) match an entry in LHS detection table 41 (decision 68), the load instruction is dispatched to issue queue 27D with an ITAG of the store instruction corresponding to the table entry (step 70). Otherwise, the load instruction is dispatched without an ITAG (step 69), as are instructions that neither load nor store instructions. Until the system is shut down (decision 71), steps 60-70 are repeated.
 Referring now to FIG. 6, another method of operation of processor core 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in a flowchart. As illustrated in FIG. 6, LSU 30 peeks issue queue 27D (step 80) and if the next instruction has an existing dependency (decision 81), such as a dependency generated by the method of FIG. 5 when the load instruction is dispatched with an ITAG of a store for which an LHS hazard is predicted, the peek moves to the next instruction (step 82). If the next instruction does not have an existing dependency (decision 81), if the instruction is a load instruction (decision 83), and LDQ 43 is not full (decision 84), the load instruction is issued to LDQ 43 (step 87). Similarly, if the instruction is a store instruction (decision 85) , and STQ 42 is not full (decision 86), the store instruction is issued to STQ 86 (step 87). Until the system is shut down (decision 88), steps 80-87 are repeated.
 While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form, and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Patent applications by Dung Quoc Nguyen, Austin, TX US
Patent applications by John Barry Griswell, Jr., Austin, TX US
Patent applications by Richard James Eickemeyer, Rochester, MN US
Patent applications by Sundeep Chadha, Austin, TX US
Patent applications in class Of multiple instructions simultaneously
Patent applications in all subclasses Of multiple instructions simultaneously