Triggered instructions: A control paradigm for spatially-programmed architectures

Angshuman Parashar, Michael Pellauer, Michael Adler, Bushra Ahsan, Neal Crago, Daniel Lustig, Vladimir Pavlov, Antonia Zhai, Mohit Gambhir, Aamer Jaleel, Randy Allmon, Rachid Rayess, Stephen Maresh, Joel Emer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

67 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present triggered instructions, a novel control paradigm for arrays of processing elements (PEs) aimed at exploiting spatial parallelism. Triggered instructions completely eliminate the program counter and allow programs to transition concisely between states without explicit branch instructions. They also allow efficient reactivity to inter-PE communication traffic. The approach provides a unified mechanism to avoid over-serialized execution, essentially achieving the effect of techniques such as dynamic instruction reordering and multithreading, which each require distinct hardware mechanisms in a traditional sequential architecture. Our analysis shows that a triggered-instruction based spatial accelerator can achieve 8× greater area-normalized performance than a traditional general-purpose processor. Further analysis shows that triggered control reduces the number of static and dynamic instructions in the critical paths by 62% and 64% respectively over a program-counter style spatial baseline, resulting in a speedup of 2.0×.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISCA 2013 - 40th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, Conference Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013
Event40th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2013 - Tel-Aviv, Israel
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 27 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Computer Architecture
ISSN (Print)1063-6897


Other40th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2013


  • Reconfigurable accelerators
  • Spatial programming


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