Mill Computing, Inc. Forums The Mill Architecture Scratchpad design decision Reply To: Scratchpad design decision

Ivan Godard
Keymaster
Post count: 629

The spiller holds ongoing program state as of a stall, mispreduct, call or return event. That state includes much more than just the then-current belt. Belt values, in their latches, are moved lazily into the spiller and its internal SRAM and eventually migrate to the spillets in DRAM. However, these are relatively simple to handle. The most difficult part of the spiller deals with in-flights, which do not yet exist at event time, but will be produced eventually and must then be captured for subsequent replay. That requires temporal ordering information that is not an address, but may be thought of as a stream or pipe.

So there is a part of the spiller that does indeed hold full operands (possibly compressed at hardware option), but this is not addressable in the sense that DRAM or scratchpad is. Instead the operands (not necessarily contiguous) are organized for ordered replay. As the “address” changes continuously during replay and the operands will have random and varying other state intermixed, it does not seem practical to try to use spiller hardware for the functionality that is the present scratchpad.