Compiling workloads

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Cross Compilers

A cross compiler is a compiler set up to run on one ISA but generate binaries which run on another. You may need one if you intend to simulate a system which uses a particular ISA, Alpha for instance, but don't have access to actual Alpha hardware. There are various sources for cross compilers, listed here in roughly recommended order:

  1. Some architectures have professionally build cross-compilers available from Code Sourcery. These are updated frequently and a good starting point: ARM, MIPS
  2. You can build your own cross compiler using crosstools-ng: Download it from here and follow the instructions on that page.
  3. We have some available on our Download page.

Alternatively, you can use QEMU and a disk image to run the desired ISA in emulation. See

A youtube video of working with image files using qemu on Ubuntu 12.04 64bit. Video resolution can be set to 1080

Note: The video uses an Ubuntu Natty image. Since Natty is now quite old, you will need to update your /etc/apt/sources.list file, on the mounted image. Use, e.g., sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list, and replace in place of Also, for things to work as show in the video, you will need to have have sshd running on the host machine.

Syscall Emulation Mode

SE mode workloads must be statically linked. Gem5 doesn't yet support dynamic linking, so all benchmarks run in SE mode must be statically linked in order to be started properly by the simulator. In FS mode the simulated operating system takes care of any dynamic linking, so this restriction only applies to SE mode. If you're using gcc you can pass it the --static option.