A flexible simulation framework for graphics architectures

J. W. Sheaffer, D. Luebke, K. Skadron
Department of Computer Science, The University of Virginia
In HWWS ’04: Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware (2004), pp. 85-94


   title={A flexible simulation framework for graphics architectures},

   author={Sheaffer, JW and Luebke, D. and Skadron, K.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware},






In this paper we describe a multipurpose tool for analysis of the performance characteristics of computer graphics hardware and software. We are developing Qsilver, a highly configurable micro-architectural simulator of the GPU that uses the Chromium system’s ability to intercept and redirect an OpenGL stream. The simulator produces an annotated trace of graphics commands using Chromium, then runs the trace through a cycle-timer model to evaluate time-dependent behaviors of the varios functional units. We demonstrate the use of Qsilver on a simple hypothetical architecture to analyze performance bottlenecks, to explore new GPU microarchitectures, and to model power and leakage properties. One innovation we explore is the use of dynamic voltage scaling across multiple clock domains to achieve significant energy savings at almost negligible performance cost. Finally, we discuss how other architectural features and experiments might be incorporated into the Qsilver framework.
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