First Research Starter Kit released by Arm Research

Arm Research are pleased to announce the release of our first Research Starter Kit (RSK): System Modeling using gem5, available to download now for free using the button below:

Download RSK

Arm Research

Arm Research looks beyond today’s products, identifying problems and opportunities to generate better future experiences. We combine in-house research with academic and industry collaborations, working on the most advanced computing technology, many years ahead of deployment.

Our Research Enablement group aims to further enhance computing research by enabling researchers worldwide to easily access Arm and partner-based technologies and services in their research, and providing tools to help make the best use of these.

Arm Research Starter Kits

As part of our research enablement plans, we are releasing easy-to-access / open-source software packages, models, hardware prototypes, and services to universities worldwide. These Research Starter Kits include high-quality research materials and packages as well as detailed documentation / white papers, providing a complete suite of materials to get started in a new research area.

Arm System Modeling using gem5

System-on-chip (SoC) computing systems are complex, and prototyping such systems is extremely expensive. Simulation is a cost-effective way to evaluate new ideas.

This Research Starter Kit will guide you through Arm-based system modeling using the gem5 simulator and a 64-bit processor model based on Armv8-A.

What is gem5?

The gem5 simulator is a well-known sophisticated simulator which is used for computer system research at both architecture and micro-architecture levels. gem5 is capable of modeling several ISAs, including Arm and x86, and supporting both 32 and 64-bit kernels and applications. It does so with enough details such that booting unmodified Linux distributions is possible. For example, gem5 is able to boot the latest versions of the Android operating system.

Who can benefit from this Research Starter Kit?

If you are new to gem5, this Research Starter Kit helps you get started, learn more about the gem5 general structure, different simulation modes and how to run examples and benchmarks.

If you are already a professional gem5 user, this Research Starter Kit provides you with useful information on how to use a modern Armv8-A based High-Performance In-order (HPI) processor timing model in your research.

What is included in this Research Starter Kit?

Our first Research Starter Kit includes all of the following to guide researchers through Arm-based system modeling using the gem5 simulator.

  • HPI model and its simulation scripts: Whether you are new to gem5, or are an existing gem5 user, our HPI model is new and interesting for computer systems researchers. It is the first processor timing model which has been released by Arm. This model is tuned to be a representative of a modern in-order Armv8-A implementation. We introduce this model and its supporting simulation scripts to be used for different simulation modes in gem5.
  • Benchmark patches: We run benchmarks on top of our HPI model. Some benchmarks like the PARSEC Benchmark Suite are complicated and needed to be configured before running. We have provided patches to make the PARSEC benchmarks ready to be run on Armv8-A. We have provided solutions for both cross-compiling on an x86 machine and compiling using the QEMU emulator.
  • Documentation: Clear and comprehensive documentation, useful to both new and professional gem5 users alike, guides you through Arm-based system modelling in gem5. We start by introducing the gem5 basics, before focusing on in-order models provided by gem5 and introduce our HPI model based on them. Finally, we look at benchmarking and demonstrate the results of running benchmarks on top of our model.
  • Cheat Sheet: For those who would like to run your simulation as quickly as possible, or would like to try out some of the code examples covered in the document, you can visit our Wiki. We have provided all commands and code examples as a cheat sheet for quick reference.
  • Supplementary Scripts: To make everything even easier, we have provided a couple of scripts to generate benchmark runscripts and collect the results after the simulation. These scripts along with all other supporting materials are available on our GitHub.

How to get started?

The Arm Research Starter Kit (RSK) on System Modeling has been released under a BSD-Like license. You can find more information on how to download this RSK along with all the required material at the arm-gem5-rsk Repository under the arm-university GitHub:

Arm gem5 Research Starter Kit GitHub repository

System Modeling Research Starter Kit

What other Research Starter Kits are planned?

Further Research Starter Kits are planned for a range of different research areas. These range from low-level SoC design and FPGA prototyping, to IoT, Networking and high-level data processing. Visit our website to find out more about our Research Enablement plans and keep up-to-date on the latest releases.