Calculating the millions of instructions per second (MIPS) rating for an algorithm running on an ARM processor can provide useful insights into its performance and efficiency. The key steps are understanding the algorithm’s operations, determining the number of clock cycles for each operation on the target ARM chip, and factoring in the processor’s clock speed. With some analysis and math, you can arrive at the algorithm’s MIPS value on that ARM system.
1. Understand the Operations in the Algorithm
The first step is to thoroughly analyze the algorithm and identify the types of operations it performs. This may include:
- Arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
- Bitwise operations like AND, OR, XOR, shifts
- Data movement like assignments, copying data
- Control flow like branches and function calls
- Memory operations like loads, stores
Studying the algorithm will reveal the approximate number of each operation type. Create a tally for reference. Complex algorithms may require profiling tools or hardware counters to accurately count the operations.
2. Determine the Cycles for Each Operation
Next, determine the number of clock cycles required for each operation on the target ARM processor. Consult the ARM chip’s technical reference manual for this cycle timing information. Key factors are:
- Processor architecture like ARMv7-A, ARMv8-A
- Implementation like Cortex-A53, Cortex-A72
- Clock speed
- Memory architecture like cache sizes
For example, an ADD instruction may take 1 cycle, a load from L1 cache may take 2 cycles, and a branch may take 5 cycles. Build a table with the cycles for each operation on your ARM chip.
3. Calculate Total Cycles
With the operation tally and per-operation cycle counts, you can now calculate the total cycles needed for the algorithm. Simply multiply the number of each operation by its cycle count and add up the results.
As an example:
- 100 ADDs * 1 cycle per ADD = 100 cycles
- 50 LDRs * 2 cycles per LDR = 100 cycles
- 25 branches * 5 cycles per branch = 125 cycles
Total cycles = 100 + 100 + 125 = 325 cycles
More complex algorithms may require simulation tools or hardware counters to determine accurate cycle counts. The manual calculation gives a good estimate.
4. Factor in the Processor Clock Speed
With the total cycles known, the final step is to factor in the ARM processor’s clock speed. This converts the cycle count into a time value in seconds. Common clock speeds include:
- 1 GHz = 1 billion cycles per second
- 2 GHz = 2 billion cycles per second
- 3 GHz = 3 billion cycles per second
Dividing the total cycles by the clock speed in Hz gives the time in seconds:
Time (seconds) = Total cycles / Clock speed (Hz)
For the previous example with 325 total cycles and a 2 GHz clock:
Time = 325 cycles / 2,000,000,000 Hz = 0.000000325 seconds
5. Calculate MIPS
Finally, divide the total number of instructions by the time. This gives the millions of instructions per second or MIPS rating:
MIPS = Total instructions / Time (seconds)
If the example algorithm had 500 instructions:
MIPS = 500 instructions / 0.000000325 seconds = 1,538,462 MIPS
In summary, calculating MIPS requires:
- Analyzing algorithm operations
- Determining cycles for each operation
- Calculating total cycles
- Factoring in processor clock speed
- Dividing total instructions by time in seconds
MIPS provides a useful estimate of real-world processor performance for a given algorithm. Higher MIPS indicates better utilization of the ARM chip capabilities. Optimizing the code to reduce cycles can improve MIPS. This metric is valuable for evaluating design trade-offs and optimizations during algorithm development and implementation on ARM processors.
Tips for Optimizing MIPS
Here are some tips for optimizing algorithms to achieve higher MIPS on ARM processors:
- Use ARM vector instructions like NEON to parallelize operations
- Minimize data movement by reusing data in registers and caches
- Unroll small loops to reduce branch overhead
- Align data structures to avoid split accesses
- Reduce unnecessary memory accesses
- Select optimized libraries like BLAS, OpenCV
- Profile code carefully to identify hot spots
- Use multiple cores via threading for more parallelism
Small changes like using rotated registers and loop unrolling can make noticeable differences in cycles and MIPS. Profiling with hardware counters provides insight into bottlenecks. Good algorithms also utilize the ARM architecture’s strengths like NEON SIMD processing. With careful optimization guided by ARM performance data and MIPS estimates, algorithms can fully leverage the capabilities of ARM-based systems.
Example MIPS Calculation
Here is an example calculating the MIPS rating for a simple algorithm on an ARM Cortex-A72 processor running at 2 GHz:
- 20 integer ADD instructions – 20 x 1 cycle per ADD = 20 cycles
- 15 floating point ADDs – 15 x 3 cycles per fp ADD = 45 cycles
- 10 LDR memory loads – 10 x 2 cycles per LDR = 20 cycles
- 5 STR memory stores – 5 x 2 cycles per STR = 10 cycles
Total cycles = 20 + 45 + 20 + 10 = 95 cycles
Clock speed = 2 GHz = 2,000,000,000 Hz
Time = 95 cycles / 2,000,000,000 Hz = 0.0000000475 seconds
Total instructions = 20 + 15 + 10 + 5 = 50 instructions
MIPS = 50 instructions / 0.0000000475 seconds = 10,526,315 MIPS
This example demonstrates how to calculate MIPS based on operation counts, cycle timing, and clock speed for a simple algorithm on a Cortex-A72 ARM processor.
Calculating MIPS provides valuable insight into real-world ARM processor performance. By analyzing algorithms, determining per-operation cycle counts, factoring in clock speed, and performing the MIPS calculation, developers can estimate performance on ARM chips. Higher MIPS indicates better utilization of processor capabilities. This data enables optimization of algorithms for maximum speed and efficiency on ARM-based systems across mobile, embedded, and server domains.