This page covers and coordinates implementing SV. The basic concept is to go step-by-step through the overview adding each feature, one at a time. Caveats and notes are included so that other implementors may avoid some common pitfalls.


Code to convert

There are five projects:

  • TestIssuer (the HDL)
  • ISACaller (the python-based simulator)
  • power-gem5 (a cycle accurate simulator)
  • Microwatt (VHDL)
  • gcc and binutils

Each of these needs to have SV augmentation, and the best way to do it is if they are all done at the same time, implementing the same incremental feature.

Critical tasks

These are prerequisite tasks:

People coordinating different tasks. This doesn't mean exclusive work on these areas it just means they are the "coordinator" and lead:

  • Lauri:
  • Jacob: C/C++ header for using SV through inline assembly
  • Cesar: TestIssuer FSM
  • Alain: power-gem5
  • Cole:
  • Luke: ISACaller, python-assembler-generator-class
  • Tobias:
  • Alexandre: binutils-svp64-assembler and gcc
  • Paul: microwatt

Adding SV

order: listed in overview

svp64 decoder

An autogenerator containing CSV files is available so that the task of creating decoders is not burdensome. creates the CSV files, SVP64RM class picks them up.

  • ISACaller: part done. svp64 detected, PowerDecoder2 in use
  • power-gem5: TODO
  • TestIssuer: part done. svp64 detected, PowerDecoder2 in use.
  • Microwatt: TODO, started auto-generated sv_decode.vhdl
  • python-based assembler-translator: 40% done (lkcl)
  • c++ macros: underway (jacob)

Note when decoding the RM into bits different modes that LDST interprets the 5 mode bits differently not just on whether it is LD/ST bit also what type of LD/ST. Immediate LD/ST is further qualified to indicate if it operates in element-strided or unit-strided mode. However Indexed LD/ST is not.

IMPORTANT! when spotting RA=0 in some instructions it is critical to note that the full seven bits are used (those from EXTRA2/3 included) because RA is no longer only five bits.



This is a peer of MSR but is stored in an SPR. It should be considered part of the state of PC+MSR because SVSTATE is effectively a Sub-PC.

Chosen values, fitting with v3.1 / v3.0C p12 "Sandbox" guidelines:

num name    priv  width


Adding SVSTATE "set/get" support for hw/sw debugging

This includes adding DMI get/set support in hardware as well as gdb (remote) support.



a setvl instruction is needed, which also implements sprs i.e. primarily the SVSTATE SPR. the dual-access SPRs for VL and MVL which mirror into the SVSTATE.VL and SVSTATE.MVL fields are not immediately essential to implement.

  • LibreSOC OpenPOWER wiki fields/forms: DONE. pseudocode: TODO
  • ISACaller: TODO
  • power-gem5: TODO
  • TestIssuer: TODO
  • Microwatt: TODO


SVSRR0 for exceptions

SV's SVSTATE context is effectively a Sub-PC. On exceptions the PC is saved into SRR0: it should come as no surprise that SVSTATE must be treated exactly the same. SVSRR0 therefore is added to the list to be saved/restored in exactly the same way and time as SRR0 and SRR1. This is fundamental and absolutely critical to view SVSTATE as a full peer of PC (CIA, NIA).

Illegal instruction exceptions

Anything not listed as SVP64 extended must raise an illegal exception if prefixed. setvl, branch, mtmsr, mfmsr at the minimum.

  • ISACaller: TODO
  • power-gem5: TODO
  • TestIssuer: TODO
  • Microwatt: TODO

VL for-loop

main SV for-loop, as a FSM, updating SVSTATE.srcstep, using it as the index in the for-loop from 0 to VL-1. Register numbers are incremented by one if marked as vector.

This loop goes in between decode and issue phases. It is as if there were multiple sequential instructions in the instruction stream and the loop must be treated as such. Specifically: all register read and write hazards MUST be respected; the Program Order must be respected even though and especially because this is Sub-PC execution.

This includes any exceptions, hence why SVSTATE exists and why SVSRR0 must be used to store SVSTATE alongside when SRR0 and SRR1 store PC and MSR.

Due to the need for exceptions to occur in the middle, the loop should not be implemented as an actual for-loop, whilst recognising that optimised implementations may do multi-issue element execution as long as Program Order is preserved, just as it would be for the PC.

Remember the following register files need to have for-loops, plus unit tests:

  • GPR
  • SPRs (yes, really: mtspr and mfspr are SV Context-extensible)
  • Condition Registers. see note below
  • FPR (if present)

When Rc=1 is encountered in an SVP64 Context the destination is different (TODO) i.e. not CR0 or CR1. Implicit Rc=1 Condition Registers are still Vectorised but do not have EXTRA2/3 spec adjustments. The only part if the EXTRA2/3 spec that is observed and respected is whether the CR is Vectorised (isvec).

Increasing register file sizes

TODO. INTs, FPs, CRs, these all increase to 128. Welcome To Vector ISAs.

At the same time the Rc=1 CR offsets normslly CR0 and CR1 for fixed and FP scalar may also be adjusted.

Single and Twin Predication

both CR and INT predication is needed, as well as zeroing in both. the order is best done as follows:

  • INT-based single
  • CR-based single
  • srcstep+dststep
  • INT-based twin
  • CR-based twin
  • Zeroing single
  • Zeroing twin

Best done as a FSM that "advances" srcstep and dststep over the zeros in their respective predicate masks, including when the src and dest predicate mask is "All 1s".

Bear in mind that srcstep+deststep are a form of back-to-back VGATHER+VSCATTER

Watch out in zeroing! CR0 will not be set (itself) to zero: the CR0.eq flag will be set because the result is still tested. correction: CR0-and-any-other-Vector-of-CR-fields (Vector elements have their corresponding CR field, so the test of zero needs to be done for the associated element result, not jam absolutely every element vector test into CR0)


Element width overrides

  • Pseudocode: TODO
  • Simulator: TODO
  • TestIssuer: TODO
  • unit tests: TODO
  • power-gem5: TODO
  • cavatools: TODO

Reduce Mode


Saturation Mode


REMAP and Context Propagation

Vectorised Branches

TODO branches

Vectorised LD/ST

TODO ldst