What is the most popular full-system simulator?

All right, it’s time for a new post on this blog!

So, I teach a course on Computer Architecture and as part of the course activities we do paper reviews on topics like caches, memory designs, processor architecture, etc. Each year I try to refresh some of the papers that are reviewed. I usually check first conferences such as ISCA, HPCA, MICRO, and HIPEAC. I also try to identify papers that present results using GEM5 full system simulator because that is what we use in some hw assignments and projects; this way students see some connections between what people publish and the hw assignments… 🙂

If anyways I browsed the papers, I thought it’d be a good idea to collect stats about what simulators and other related tools people in the computer architecture community use. Here is an approximate breakdown (for now just ISCA). It seems that GEM5 is still one of the favorites for many researchers. I would love to know how many companies (such as AMD, Intel, etc.) are actually using these tools.

table_with_freqs

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