IA-32 Execution Layer

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IA-32 Execution Layer
Original author(s)Intel
Stable release
5336 /
Operating systemLinux, Windows Server
LicenseLGPL, Proprietary

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 Server 2003 SP1 and later[1] 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.[2] 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-modifying code, and could even optimize it quite well.

Part of the software is under the LGPL and part is under an Intel proprietary license.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The IA-32 Execution Layer 4.3 Software Driver (microsoft.com)
  2. ^ "IA-32 Execution Layer: Technical Whitepaper". Intel.
  3. ^ "Intel Software Development Products". Intel. Archived from the original on April 23, 2007.

External links[edit]