Employing Simulation to Facilitate the Design of Dynamic Code Generators

Dynamic Translation (DT) is a sophisticated technique that allows the implementation of high-performance emulators and high-level-language virtual machines. In this technique, the guest code is compiled dynamically at runtime. Consequently, achieving good performance depends on several design decisions, including the shape of the regions of code being translated. Researchers and engineers explore these decisions to bring the best performance possible. However, a real DT engine is a very sophisticated piece of software, and modifying one is a hard and demanding task. Hence, we propose using simulation to evaluate the impact of design decisions on dynamic translators and present RAIn, an open-source DT simulator that facilitates the test of DT's design decisions, such as Region Formation Techniques (RFTs). RAIn outputs several statistics that support the analysis of how design decisions may affect the behavior and the performance of a real DT. We validated RAIn running a set of experiments with six well known RFTs (NET, MRET2, LEI, NETPlus, NET-R, and NETPlus-e-r) and showed that it can reproduce well-known results from the literature without the effort of implementing them on a real and complex dynamic translator engine.


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