What is SPEC?

rnovak@mips.COM (Robert E. Novak)
26 Jan 90 19:39:29 GMT

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From: rnovak@mips.COM (Robert E. Novak)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 26 Jan 90 19:39:29 GMT
Organization: MIPS Computer Systems, Sunnyvale, CA

What is SPEC?

SPEC is the Systems Performance Evaluation Cooperative. More
simply stated, it is a consortium of computer manufacturers that
are concerned about a level playing field on which both customers
and vendors can measure computer system performance. SPEC's
mission is to create a realistic yardstick to measure the
performance of advanced computer systems.

The current membership list includes 16 companies: AT&T, Control
Data Corp., Data General, Digital Equipment Corp., DuPont,
Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Intergraph, MIPS Computer Systems,
Motorola, Multiflow, Solbourne, Stardent, Sun and Unisys.
Several other companies have also made commitments to join.

What has SPEC done? SPEC has released a suite of 10 benchmarks
that are availabe for a nominal cost to anyone. The SPEC
Benchmark Release 1.0 is only the first of many suites which will
encompass a broad spectrum of tests of performance. All 10 of
these programs are primarily CPU-intensive in nature. Half of
the programs are Fortran floating point intensive applications
and the other half are C language integer intensive applications.
Despite the overall CPU intensity of these applications, a number
of I/O side-effects and cache organization impacts have been
noted with these applications. For example, the espresso, fpppp,
and tomcatv applications proved to be very memory intensive. One
measure of that intensity is that only xxxx of the published
performance numbers to date have been run on less than 16
megabytes of memory.

The gcc application (a portable C compiler) actually performs a
healthy amount of I/O, but the code generator is so CPU
intensive, that it dominates the performance characteristics of
this application.

The SPEC applications represent a large body of code (over 14
megabytes) which span a range of application arenas. The
membership to SPEC is open to any interested company. SPEC is
not devoted to any single architecture nor any particular
philosophy of computing systems. SPEC has created a framework in
which a wide variety of applications can be tested by a very
large audience of computer users.

For more information on SPEC, please contact SPEC c/o Waterside
Associates 1-415-792-2901 or shanley@cup.portal.com or
Robert E. Novak MIPS Computer Systems, Inc.
{ames,decwrl,pyramid}!mips!rnovak 928 E. Arques Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086
rnovak@mips.COM (rnovak%mips.COM@ames.arc.nasa.gov) +1 408 991-0402

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