[libre-riscv-dev] Scoreboard vs Tomasulo

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Sat May 16 18:33:05 BST 2020

On Saturday, May 16, 2020, Yehowshua <yimmanuel3 at gatech.edu> wrote:

> This is a very intricate and complicated subject matter for sure.

yes, except it doesn't have to be.  the actual
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levenshtein_distance between Tomasulo and
6600 really is not that great.

i thought it would be fun to use a new unpronounceable word i learned
yesterday :)

> At some point, it be great to really break things down and make them more
> accessible.

yes. it comes down to time.

start with this.

1. Begin from Tomasulo.  neither TS nor original 6600 have precise
exceptions so we leave that out for now.

2. Start by only allowing one row per Reservation Station.

3. Expand the number of RSes so that if you were to count the total number
of places operands are stored, they are the same.

(another way to put this is, "flatten all 2D RSes into 1D")

4. where pipelines were formerly connected exclusively to one RS,
*preserve* those connections even though the rows are now 1D flattened.

(another way to put this is: we have a global 1D naming scheme to reference
the *operand latches* rather than a 2D scheme involving RS number in 1
dimension and the row number in the 2nd)

5. give this 1D flattening an UNARY numbering scheme.

6. make the size of the Reorder Buffer EXACTLY equal to the number of 1D
flattened RSes.

7. rename RSes to "Function Units" (actually in Thornton's book the phrase
"Computation Units" is used)

thus, at this point in the transformation, the ROB row number *IS* the
Function Unit Number, the need to actually store the ROB # in the
Reservation Station Row is REMOVED, and consequently the Reservation
Stations are NO LONGER A CAM.

8. give all register file numbers (INT FP) an UNARY numbering.

this means that in the ROB, the CAM, which has to look up the register
number by hitting the CAM on every cycle, now only has to match a single
AND gate.

bitvectors therefore replace CAMs.

with the ROB now having rows of bitvectors, it is now termed a "Matrix".

the left side of the ROB, which used to contain the RS Number in unary, now
contains a *bitvector* Directed Acyclic Graph of the FU to FU dependencies,
and is split out into its own Matrix.

this we call the FU-FU Dependency Matrix.

the remainder of the "ROB" contains the register numbers in unary Matrix
form, and with each row being directly associated with a Function Unit, we
now have an association between FU and Regs which preserves the knowledge
of what instruction required which registers, *and* who will produce the

this we call the FU-Regs Dependency Matrix.

that *really is it*.

take some time to absorb the transformation which not only preserves
absolutely every functional aspect of the Tomasulo Algorithm, it
drastically simplifies the implementation, reduces gate count, reduces
power consumption *and* provides a strong foundation for doing arbitrary
multi-issue execution with only an O(N) linear increase in gate count to do

further hilariously simple additional transformations occur to replace
former massive resource constrained bottlenecks, due to the binary
numbering on both ROB numbers and Reg numbers, with simple large unary NOR

* the determination of when hazards are clear, on a per register basis, is
a laughably trivial NOR gate across all columns of the FU-REGs matrix,
producing a row bitvector for each read register and each write register.

* the determination of when a Function Unit may proceed is a laughably
trivial NOR gate across all *rows* of the *FU-FU* Matrix, producing a
row-based vector, determining that it is "readable" if there exists no
write hazard and "writable" if there exists no read hazard.

* the Tomasulo Common Data Bus, formerly being a single chokepoint
binary-addressing global Bus, may now be upgraded to *MULTIPLE* Common Data
Buses that, because the addressing information about registers is now in
unary, is likewise laughably trivial to use cascading Priority Pickers (a
nmigen PriorityEncoder and Decoder, back-to-back) to determine which
Function Unit shall be granted access to which CDB in order to receive (or
send) its operand (or result).

* multi-issue as i mentioned a few times is an equally laughably trivial
matter of transitively cascading the Register Dependency Hazards (both read
and write) across future instructions in the same multi issue execution
window. instr2 has instr1 AND instr2's hazards.  instr3 has instr1 AND
instr2 AND instr3's hazards and so on.  this just leaves the necessity of
increasing register port numbers, number of CDBs, and LD/ST memory
bandwidth to compensate and cope with the additional resource demands that
will now occur.

the latter is particularly why we have a design that, ultimately, we could
take on ARM, Intel, and AMD.

there is no reason technically why we could not do a 4, 6 or 8 multi issue
system, and with enough Function Units and the cyclic buffer system (so as
not to require a full crossbar at the Common Data Buses), and proper
stratification and design of the register files, massive Vector parallelism
at the pipelines would be kept fully occupied without an overwhelming
increase in gates or power consumption that would normally be expected, and
scalar performance would be similarly high as well.


crowd-funded eco-conscious hardware: https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68

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