To support the simulation of programs that perform system calls, SimEng implements system call emulation. When a supervisor call exception is raised by the program, the exception handler invokes the emulated operating system kernel instance to perform the syscall.
Many syscalls are emulated entirely inside SimEng, with some exceptions detailed below.
Syscalls that interact with files are passed through to the host, in order to allow the simulated program to read and write data files on the host filesystem and interact with
stderr. When a file is opened (e.g. with
openat), the emulated kernel maps the host file descriptor to a virtual file descriptor (
fileDescriptorTable) which is returned to the simulated program. When handling syscalls that operate on file descriptors (e.g.
writev), the kernel looks up the corresponding host file descriptor in the map before passing the call onwards to the host.
The kernel detects attempts to open special files (such as those in
/proc) and emulates their access inside SimEng rather than passing the call through to the host. This is achieved by generating the most commonly accessed special files at runtime via information provided in the model config file. The generated special files directory can be found at
simeng/build/specialFiles/.... Alternatively, a user can disable the special file generation in the model config file and copy in their own directory to the same location.