In the last few decades, Von-Neumann super-scalar processors have been the superior approach for improving general purpose processing and hardware specialization was used as a complementary approach. However, the imminent end of Moore's law indicates voltage scaling and per-transistor switching power can not scale down with the same peace as what Moore's law predicts. As a result, there is a new interest in hardware specialization to improve performance, power and energy efficiency on specific tasks.This dissertation proposes a Von-Neumann based accelerator, Chainsaw, and demonstrates that many of the fundamental overheads (e.g., fetch-decode) can be amortized by adopting the appropriate instruction abstraction. We have developed a complete LLVM-based compiler prototype and simulation infrastructure and demonstrated that an 8-lane Chainsaw is within 73% of the performance of an ideal dataflow architecture while reducing the energy consumption by 45% compared to a 4-way out of order processor.
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