IA-32 Execution Layer
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|Operating system||Linux, Windows Server|
The IA-32 Execution Layer (IA-32 EL) is a software emulator in the form of a software driver that improves performance of 32-bit applications running on 64-bit Intel Itanium-based systems, particularly those running Linux and Windows Server 2003 (it is included in Windows 2003 SP1 and later and in most Linux distributions for Itanium). The IA-32 EL bypasses the slow x86 hardware emulation which is available on pre-Montecito Itanium models.
The IA-32 EL used a two-phase (later three-phase) approach: initially it quickly translated every piece of code at a basic block level, adding certain instrumentation for detecting hot code; then hot code was dynamically optimized at a super-block level, and the optimized translated code replaced cold code on the fly. Later interpretation engine was added that allowed to avoid altogether translation of code executed just a few times - cold non-optimized translation became thus the second phase, and hot optimized translation became the third phase. IA-32 Execution Layer supported self-modified code, and could even optimize it quite well.
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