Running SimEng with SST


During the installation stage of SimEng with the SST integration enabled, is installed in the <path_to_simeng_install>/sst directory and is installed in the <path_to_simeng_install>/lib directory at the install location. To make sure SimEng is able to run successfully inside a SST simulation, the $LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable should include the path to i.e <path_to_simeng_install>/lib. For the SST Simulation, SimEng also relies on components present inside SST-Elements, so the path to all SST-Elements needs to be included also i.e <sst-elements_install_directory>/lib/sst-elements-library.

Configuration for SST Simulation

SST provides a python module to allow interaction with the simulation build system. SST simulations are configured through a python file. The SST core python module is defined in CPython and is only available in the python interpreter launched within a running SST executable. SST parses the python file and creates a component graph, which it then uses to instantiate and configure components, links, and subcomponents.

All SST config files have to use the following import:

import sst
# or
from sst import *

The following links can be used to access SST documentation regarding SST Python Classes and Global Functions in SST Python Module

Within this module, there are a number of available classes and global functions. The available classes are Component, SubComponent, Link, StatisticOutput, and StatisticGroup. The global functions are divided between general functions and functions operating on or returning one of the available classes mentioned.

Declaring and configuring SST::Component(s)

Declaring components in the SST configuration files can be achieved by declaring an sst.Component class. This constructor takes in a unique identifier string called name and an element_type string used to identify the SST component to dynamically load during runtime. The element_type string is very important and has a specific format i.e <componentLibrary>.<(sub)componentName>.


(sub)componentName is different from name. (sub)componentName is used to locate the actual SST component or subcomponent from the SST Element registry, whereas name is a just unique identifier string which can be used in the codebase to manually locate and instantiate components.

The componentLibrary string is the name of the dynamic library which contains components with the lib prefix stripped. During runtime, SST adds the lib prefix to the componentLibrary string, dynamically loads the library, and uses the (sub)componentName string to index into the Element registry and instantiate the component or subcomponent.

Example: SimEng core is wrapped in a class called SimengCoreWrapper. The class is then registered as a custom SST component with (sub)componentName = simengcore. The class is then compiled into a shared library with the name libsstsimeng. Finally, using the sst-register executable, the libsstsimeng library and its path are registered into SST. This is all done automatically in the build and install steps of SST Simeng integration.

simengcore can now be in a SST simulation using the following element_type string:

import sst
cpu = sst.Component("mycore", "sstsimeng.simengcore")

Adding parameters to the SST component can be done through the addParams method of the SST Python module Component class.

import sst
cpu = sst.Component("mycore", "sstsimeng.simengcore")
    "clock": "1GHz",


  • To find out about the componentLibrary or (sub)componentNane you can use the sst-info command.
    • The sst-info command can be used to find out about all libraries, components and subcomponents registered with the SST Core
    • The sst-info <componentLibrary> command can be used to find out about all components and subcomponents in a library.
    • The sst-info <componentLibrary>.<(sub)componentName> command can be used to get information about a specific component or subcomponent in a library.
  • Examples:
    • sst-info sstsimeng
    • sst-info sstsimeng.simengcore

Declaring and Configuring SST::SubComponent(s)

If a component has a SubComponent slot, then it can be filled using the component.setSubComponent method. This method takes in 3 arguments: slot_name , element_type and slot_index. The slot_index is the index in which the SubComponent should be inserted. This defaults to 0 and is not required if only one SubComponent is being loaded into the specified slot. Each SubComponent must be loaded into a unique slot_index and some SubComponents will require the indexes to be incremental. SubComponents can also be configured using the addParams method.

import sst
# Memory controller from memHierarchy library
memctrl = sst.Component("memory", "memHierarchy.MemController")
# Memory controller has a subcomponent slot for the memory backend.
memory = memctrl.setSubComponent("backend", "memHierarchy.simpleMem")

SimEng SST Configuration

Configuring the SimEngCore

As discussed earlier, the SimEng core has been wrapped in the SimengCoreWrapper class and registered as a custom SST Component. Instantiating and using this component is fundamental to running the simulation. The component has the following parameters:

  • config_path: Path to YAML configuration file needed by SimEng for configuration of the core microarchitecture under simulation.
  • executable_path: Path to the executable to run inside SimEng.
  • executable_args: Arguments provided to the executable.
  • clock: The frequency of clock ticking the SimEng Core e.g. 1GHz (S.I units accepted).
  • max_addr_range: Maximum address which can be accessed by SimEng.
  • cache_line_width: Width of the cache line (in bytes).

Configuring StandardInterface

After the simengcore has been instantiated, the StandardInterface has to be set into the memory slot of simengcore.

iface = cpu.setSubComponent("memory", "memHierarchy.standardInterface")

Configuring the Cache

Next, the L1 cache needs to be configured. All configuration parameters (and their documentation), ports and slots for the cache can be found using the command sst-info memHierarchy.Cache. The default cache parameters provided by the installation are defined below:

l1cache = sst.Component("l1cache.mesi", "memHierarchy.Cache")
     "access_latency_cycles" : "2",
     "cache_frequency" : "2Ghz",
     "replacement_policy" : "nmru",
     "coherence_protocol" : "MESI",
     "associativity" : "4",
     "cache_line_size" : "64",
     "debug" : 1,
     "debug_level" : 1,
     "L1" : "1",
     "cache_size" : "200KiB",

Configuring the MemoryController and MemBackend

As discussed in the Understanding SST section, the MemoryController and the MemBackend are the last levels in the memory hierarchy. The MemBackend is a subcomponent of the MemoryController (slot: backend) and for the SimEng simulation the SimpleMem backend is used. Other backends are also supported.

All configuration parameters (and their documentation), ports, and slots for MemoryController and MemBackend can be found using the commands: sst-info memHierarchy.MemController and sst-info memHierarchy.simpleMem. The default memory controller and backend parameters provided by the installation are defined below:

# Memory controller
 memctrl = sst.Component("memory", "memHierarchy.MemController")
     "clock" : "1GHz",
     "request_width" : "64",
     "debug" : 1,
     "debug_level" : 1,
     "addr_range_end" : 1*1024*1024*1024-1,

 # Memory model
 memory = memctrl.setSubComponent("backend", "memHierarchy.simpleMem")
     "access_time" : "1ns",
     "mem_size" : "1GiB",

Running SST SimEng Simulation

To run the simulation, navigate to the file (the default configuration file can be found at the path <path-to-simeng-install>/sst/config) and use the command sst to start the simulation.