The superthreaded processor architecture

Jenn Yuan Tsai, Jian Huang, Christoffer Amlo, David J. Lilja, Pen Chung Yew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The common single-threaded execution model limits processors to exploiting only the relatively small amount of instruction-level parallelism available in application programs. The superthreaded processor, on the other hand, is a concurrent multithreaded architecture (CMA) that can exploit the multiple granularities of parallelism available in general-purpose application programs. Unlike other CMAs that rely primarily on hardware for run-time dependence detection and speculation, the superthreaded processor combines compiler-directed thread-level speculation of control and data dependences with run-time data dependence verification hardware. This hybrid of a superscalar processor and a multiprocessor-on-a-chip can utilize many of the existing compiler techniques used in traditional parallelizing compilers developed for multiprocessors. Additional unique compiler techniques, such as the conversion of data speculation into control speculation, are also introduced to generate the superthreaded code and to enhance the parallelism between threads. A detailed execution-driven simulator is used to evaluate the performance potential of this new architecture. It is found that a superthreaded processor can achieve good performance on complex application programs through this close coupling of compile-time and run-time information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-902
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Grant No. MIP 9610379; by the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca under Contract DABT63-95-C-0127 and ARPA order No. D 346; by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, and by a gift from Intel Corporation. For more information, please visit


  • Compilers
  • Multithreading
  • Performance evaluation
  • Run-time dependence checking
  • Speculation


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