Next steps

At the time of writing, we are continuing several projects to better understand and optimize Morello performance to converge, as much as possible, with essential CHERI performance:

  • Continuing to explore the effects of load and store queues that were tuned for the pre-CHERI N1SDP design. This problem has been highlighted in memory-store-intensive benchmarks that see greater congestion with rapid sequential capability-width stores. This issue in particular is believed to reduce the throughput of load- and store-pair capability instructions frequently used in stack push and pop operations.
  • Continuing to improve code generation around specific architectural gaps or inconsistencies relative to the baseline aarch64 — for example, around the use of the MADD instruction, for which improved code generation substantially affects the performance of the SPECint 2006 gobmk benchmark.
  • Continuing to improve application binary interface (ABI) definitions to enable improved code generation, especially around global variable access.
  • Enabling further compiler optimization passes as performance and protection tradeoffs are better understood, and longer-term engineering efforts come to fruition (e.g., around efficient access to global variables, which are always indirected via the GOT in pure-capability code, but some of which can be accessed safely via PCC).
  • Improving our models of optimized P128 code generation to better mirror tradeoffs in CHERI-enabled calling conventions and data layouts, allowing us to refine our estimated future microarchitecture results.
  • Taking advantage of now rich workloads and better optimized toolchain to continue to explore the impacts of ISA design choices and their impacts on ABIs and code generation, and their effects on performance.

The data extracted from these understandings point to further possible enhancements to a Capability Extension to the Arm architecture (and other ISAs) that could be deployed commercially.

In the remainder of this report, we explore the performance methodology employed in this work in greater detail, both to explain our results and also enable others to apply it. Further details on the next steps above may be found at the end of the report in the Future Directions section.