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An Integrated Path and Timing Analysis Method based on Cycle-Level Symbolic Execution

[rts99]Thomas Lundqvist and Per Stenström: "An Integrated Path and Timing Analysis Method based on Cycle-Level Symbolic Execution," in Real-Time Systems, 17 (2/3):183-207, November 1999.


Previously published methods for estimation of the worst-case execution time on high-performance processors with complex pipelines and multi-level memory hierarchies result in overestimations owing to insufficient path and/or timing analysis. This does not only give rise to poor utilization of processing resources but also reduces the schedulability in real-time systems.

This paper presents a method that integrates path and timing analysis to accurately predict the worst-case execution time for real-time programs on high-performance processors. The unique feature of the method is that it extends cycle-level architectural simulation techniques to enable symbolic execution with unknown input data values; it uses alternative instruction semantics to handle unknown operands.

We show that the method can exclude many infeasible (or non-executable) program paths and can calculate path information, such as bounds on number of loop iterations, without the need for manual annotations of programs. Moreover, the method is shown to accurately analyze timing properties of complex features in high-performance processors using multiple-issue pipelines and instruction and data caches. The combined path and timing analysis capability is shown to derive exact estimates of the worst-case execution time for six out of seven programs in our benchmark suite.

Copyright: Kluwer Academic Publishers. See journal homepage.

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