The PACE Project is developing an architecture aware compiler environment. Rice University is the lead site, with active participants at ET International, Ohio State, Stanford, and Texas Instruments.

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The PACE Project

The PACE project is a multi-institutional research project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).  The PACE project is developing a new generation of compiler tools and technology that are intended to provide portable performance across a wide range of new and old systems.  The PACE tools will automate the process of reconfiguring a high-performance compilation environment for new computer systems.  The resulting toolset should reduce the time required to produce high-quality compilers for new computer systems.

The PACE compilation environment will include tools to measure the performance-relevant parameters of a new system and adjust translation and optimization strategies to fit those parameters better. It will include tools to measure application properties and to adjust optimization strategies to fit specific applications.  It will include performance-monitoring tools to help both the user and the compiler understand the application’s runtime behavior. It will include a runtime system to make that execution more efficient, through both novel mechanisms to support parallel execution and runtime analysis and adaptation of the application’s behavior.

Because the PACE project is focused on portable performance, it relies on native C compilers, either vendor supplied or open source, to perform the final steps of code generation for the target systems.  Thus, the PACE tools will produce, as output, a distinct version of the application’s code for each kind of processor in the system.  They will optimize those output codes specifically for the processor, the surrounding system, and the vendor compiler.  In this way, the PACE system should produce the best application performance that can be achieved using less ambitious compilers for the component processors.

PACE is an acronym for “platform-aware compilation environment.”  The PACE team includes researchers from Rice University, ET International, Ohio State University, Stanford University, and Texas Instruments.