Towards a High-Performance RISC-V Emulator

  • Leandro Lupori UNICAMP
  • Vanderson Rosario UNICAMP
  • Edson Borin UNICAMP


RISC-V is an open ISA which has been calling the attention worldwide by its fast growth and adoption, it is already supported by GCC, Clang and the Linux Kernel. Moreover, several emulators and simulators for RISC-V have arisen recently. However, none of them with good performance. In this paper, we investigate if faster emulators for RISC-V could be created. As the most common and also the fastest technique to implement an emulator, Dynamic Binary Translation (DBT), depends directly on good translation quality to achieve good performance, we investigate if a high-quality translation of RISC-V binaries is feasible. To this, we used Static Binary Translation (SBT) to test the quality that can be achieved by translating RISC-V to x86 and ARM. Our experimental results indicate that our SBT is able to produce high-quality code when translating RISC-V binaries to x86 and ARM, achieving only 12%/35% of overhead when compared to native x86/ARM code. A better result than well-known RISC-V DBT engines such as RV8 or QEMU. Since DBTs have its performance strongly related with translation quality, our SBT engine evidence the opportunity towards the creation of RISC-V DBT emulators with higher performance than the current ones.
Palavras-chave: Engines, Emulation, Computer architecture, Reduced instruction set computing, Optimization, Linux, RISC-V, binary translation, emulation, LLVM
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LUPORI, Leandro; ROSARIO, Vanderson; BORIN, Edson. Towards a High-Performance RISC-V Emulator. In: SIMPÓSIO EM SISTEMAS COMPUTACIONAIS DE ALTO DESEMPENHO (WSCAD), 19. , 2018, São Paulo. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2018 . p. 213-220.