Understanding dynamic program behavior is critical in many stages of the software development lifecycle, for purposes as diverse as optimization, debugging, testing, and security. This paper focuses on the problem of predicting dynamic program behavior statically. We introduce a novel technique to statically identify hot paths that leverages emerging deep learning techniques to take advantage of their ability to learn subtle, complex relationships between sequences of inputs. This approach maps well to the problem of identifying the behavior of sequences of basic blocks in program execution. Our technique is also designed to operate on the compiler’s intermediate representation (IR), as opposed to the approaches taken by prior techniques that have focused primarily on source code, giving our approach language-independence. We describe the pitfalls of conventional metrics used for hot path prediction such as accuracy, and motivate the use of Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (AUROC). Through a thorough evaluation of our technique on complex applications that include the SPEC CPU2006 benchmarks, we show that our approach achieves an AUROC of 0.85.

By Daniel Rings, Nathan Harada, Michael A. Laurenzano, Lingjia Tang, and Jason Mars. International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO), 2016.