Arbitrary and Variable Precision Floating-Point Arithmetic Support in Dynamic Binary Translation

Abstract

Floating-point hardware support has more or less been settled 35 years ago by the adoption of the IEEE 754 standard. However, many scientific applications require higher accuracy than what can be represented on 64 bits, and to that end make use of dedicated arbitrary precision software libraries. To reach a good performance/accuracy trade-off, developers use variable precision, requiring e.g. more accuracy as the computation progresses. Hardware accelerators for this kind of computations do not exist yet, and independently of the actual quality of the underlying arithmetic computations, defining the right instruction set architecture, memory representations, etc, for them is a challenging task. We investigate in this paper the support for arbitrary and variable precision arithmetic in a dynamic binary translator, to help gain an insight of what such an accelerator could provide as an interface to compilers, and thus programmers. We detail our design and present an implementation in QEMU using the MPRF library for the RISC-V processor.

Publication
ACM Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference
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