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Communications of the ACM

Performance evaluation of highly concurrent computers by deterministic simulation


Simulation is presented as a practical technique for performance evaluation of alternative configurations of highly concurrent computers. A technique is described for constructing a detailed deterministic simulation model of a system. In the model a control stream replaces the instruction and data streams of the real system. Simulation of the system model yields the timing and resource usage statistics needed for performance evaluation, without the necessity of emulating the system. As a case study, the implementation of a simulator of a model of the CPU-memory subsystem of the IBM 360/91 is described. The results of evaluating some alternative system designs are discussed. The experiments reveal that, for the case study, the major bottlenecks in the system are the memory unit and the fixed point unit. Further, it appears that many of the sophisticated pipelining and buffering techniques implemented in the architecture of the IBM 360/91 are of little value when high-speed (cache) memory is used, as in the IBM 360/195.

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