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16.8.8 Software Pipelining

Software pipelining consists of scheduling instructions around the branch point in a loop. For example a loop might issue a load not for use in the present iteration but the next, thereby allowing extra cycles for the data to arrive from memory.

Naturally this is wanted only when doing things like loads or multiplies that take several cycles to complete, and only where a CPU has multiple functional units so that other work can be done in the meantime.

A pipeline with several stages will have a data value in progress at each stage and each loop iteration moves them along one stage. This is like juggling.

If the latency of some instruction is greater than the loop time then it will be necessary to unroll, so one register has a result ready to use while another (or multiple others) are still in progress. (see section Loop Unrolling).


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