October 15, 2004

Have you thanked your CPU recently?

Your CPU goes to great lengths to make your computer seem faster than it really is. I'm doing a project investigating the use of neural networks for dynamic branch prediction. If you want to get a sense for just how much work a CPU does to try to keep itself busy, check out this paper:

http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~techrep/CS-2004-28.pdf

Modern branch predictors can consume as much as 64kB or even 128kB of on-die storage. And it's worth it, because without a good branch predictor, much of the processing power of your CPU would be wasted nearly every clock cycle. And branch prediction is just one of the many ways your CPU tries to be faster than it really is. It boggles the mind.

Posted by lever042 at 11:27 PM