VersaBench – A Benchmark Suite for Versatile Architectures

Computer architecture research has largely benefited from, and continues to be driven by ad-hoc benchmarking. Often the benchmarks are selected to represent workloads that architecture engineers believe should run on the computational platforms they design. For example, benchmark suites such as SPEC have driven computer architecture innovation for the last decade.

Recently, advances in VLSI technology have created an increasing interest within the computer architecture community to build a new kind of processor that is more versatile than extant general purpose processors. Such new processor architectures are designed to efficiently support a broad class of applications including graphics, networking, and signal processing in additional to the traditional desktop workloads.

Because of the new focus on and demand for architectural versatility, we have assembled VersaBench, a new benchmark suite that is specifically geared toward accurately reflecting the goals of the versatile-minded architecture community. In addition, we introduce a Versatility measure to quantify the ability of a versatile-architecture to effectively execute a broad set of applications. The VersaBench suite is composed of applications drawn from several domains including desktops, servers, and embedded systems.

The Versatility of an architecture is a single scalar measure that is inspired by the SPECmark metric. The SPECmark of an architecture is the geometric mean of the speedups of that architecture relative to a reference machine (e.g., the VAX 11/780) for each of the applications in a SPEC suite (e.g., SPEC CINT 89). Computing the Versatility of an architecture is purposefully designed to mirror that of a SPECmark. Accordingly, Versatility is the geometric mean of the speedups of an architecture for each of the applications in the VersaBench suite. Unlike a SPECmark however, the speedup of each application is not measured relative to a single reference machine, but rather relative to the architecture which provides the best performance for that application (from known results in the 2004 time frame).

For more information, see

  • Versatility and VersaBench: A New Metric and a Benchmark Suite for Flexible Architectures.

  • Last updated: Saturday June 04 2004