The ARMv8.2 architecture introduces the optional Statistical Profiling
SPE can be used to profile a population of operations in the CPU pipeline
after instruction decode. These are either architected instructions (i.e.
a dynamic instruction trace) or CPU-specific uops and the choice is fixed
statically in the hardware and advertised to userspace via caps/. Sampling
is controlled using a sampling interval, similar to a regular PMU counter,
but also with an optional random perturbation to avoid falling into patterns
where you continuously profile the same instruction in a hot loop.
After each operation is decoded, the interval counter is decremented. When
it hits zero, an operation is chosen for profiling and tracked within the
pipeline until it retires. Along the way, information such as TLB lookups,
cache misses, time spent to issue etc is captured in the form of a sample.
The sample is then filtered according to certain criteria (e.g. load
latency) that can be specified in the event config (described under
format/) and, if the sample satisfies the filter, it is written out to
memory as a record, otherwise it is discarded. Only one operation can
be sampled at a time.
The in-memory buffer is linear and virtually addressed, raising an
interrupt when it fills up. The PMU driver handles these interrupts to
give the appearance of a ring buffer, as expected by the AUX code.
The in-memory trace-like format is self-describing (though not parseable
in reverse) and written as a series of records, with each record
corresponding to a sample and consisting of a sequence of packets. These
packets are defined by the architecture, although some have CPU-specific
fields for recording information specific to the microarchitecture.
As a simple example, a record generated for a branch instruction may
consist of the following packets:
0 (Address) : Virtual PC of the branch instruction
1 (Type) : Conditional direct branch
2 (Counter) : Number of cycles taken from Dispatch to Issue
3 (Address) : Virtual branch target + condition flags
4 (Counter) : Number of cycles taken from Dispatch to Complete
5 (Events) : Mispredicted as not-taken
6 (END) : End of record
It is also possible to toggle properties such as timestamp packets in
This patch adds support for SPE in the form of a new perf driver.
Cc: Alexander Shishkin <email@example.com>
Reviewed-by: Mark Rutland <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Signed-off-by: Will Deacon <email@example.com>