The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pipelined Bloom Filter


= [[Pipelined Bloom Filter]] =

Occasionally one wants to keep track of what (micro)instructions are in a pipeline.
For example, an aggressively speculative x86 may need to
[[snoop the pipeline]]
to detect [[self-modifying code]] that writes to instructions
that are already in the process of being executed.

A brute force technique might be to [[CAM]] all of the instructions in the pipeline.
Or to mark I$ lines or even ITLB pages when instructions from them are fetched for execution.
These can be expensive and/or complex.

This suggests a Bloom filter implementation:
set bit(s) in a bitvector according to a hash of the physical address of instructions
as the enter the pipeline.

unfortunately, a straightforward Bloom filter only ever sets bits.
It only ever accumulates. Eventually this will reduce in false conflicts being detected.

The basic idea behind a [[pipelined Bloom filter]] is to have a set of Bloom filters.
E.g. 2 1024 bit Bloom filters.
A new Bloom filter is (re)allocated by clearing it every 128 instructions.
It accumulates bits as instructions as executed for the next 128 instructions.
It is checked, but new instructions are not allocated into it, for the next 128 instructions.
It is then reallocated, and cleared.
Two such filters therefore can ping pong, providing coverage to the pipeline.

== Generalized ==

A set of K filters, used to protect a pipeline.

Use filter j for a specified period of time
- e.g. L instructions, or perhaps until B bits are set,
or C entries in a counted Bloom filter are saturated.
Switch to the next.
During this period one sets bits in the filter as new items are placed in the pipeline.

After this "allocation" period, continue to use the filter for checking, without writing new entries.

Deallocate the filter when it is guaranteed that no items inserted into the filter remain in the system, i.e. the pipeline.

== Other Terminology ==

It appears that there are some papers that use the term "pipelined Bloom filter"
to refer solely to a physical or electronic pipeline, and not the the logical structure
of overlapping Bloom filters that can be deallocated.

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