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Accelerating Graphics in the Simics Full-System Simulator
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
2015 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)Text
Abstract [en]

Virtual platforms provide benefits to developers in terms of a more rapid development cycle since development may begin before next-generation hardware is available. However, there is a distinct lack of graphics virtualization in industry-grade virtual platforms, leading to performance issues that may reduce the benefits virtual platforms otherwise have over execution on actual hardware. This paper demonstrates graphics acceleration by the means of paravirtualizing OpenGL ES in the Wind River Simics full-system simulator. We propose a solution for paravirtualized graphics using magic instructions to share memory between target and host systems, and present an implementation utilizing this method. The study illustrates the benefits and drawbacks of paravirtualized graphics acceleration and presents a performance analysis of strengths and weaknesses compared to software rasterization. Additionally, benchmarks are devised to stress key aspects in the solution, such as communication latency and computationally intensive applications. We assess paravirtualization as a viable method to accelerate graphics in system simulators, this reduces frame times up to 34 times compared to that of software rasterization. Furthermore, magic instructions are identified as the primary bottleneck of communication latency in the implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Computer Society, 2015. 150-153 p.
Keyword [en]
circuit simulation;computer graphics;virtualisation;Wind River Simics full-system simulator;communication latency;computationally intensive applications;graphics virtualization;industry-grade virtual platforms;magic instructions;next-generation hardware;paravirtualized graphics acceleration;paravirtualizing OpenGL ES;rapid development cycle;share memory;software rasterization;system simulators;Acceleration;Benchmark testing;Hardware;Libraries;Software;Virtualization;full-system simulation;paravirtualization;simics
National Category
Computer Engineering Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-11413DOI: 10.1109/MASCOTS.2015.33OAI: diva2:894260
23rd International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS),Atlanta
Available from: 2016-01-14 Created: 2016-01-14 Last updated: 2016-01-18Bibliographically approved

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Grahn, Håkan
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Department of Computer Science and Engineering
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