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SPU_RUN(2)                 Linux Programmer's Manual                SPU_RUN(2)

       spu_run - execute an SPU context

       #include <sys/spu.h>

       int spu_run(int fd, unsigned int *npc, unsigned int *event);

       The  spu_run() system call is used on PowerPC machines that implement the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture in
       order to access Synergistic Processor Units (SPUs).  The fd argument is a file descriptor returned by  spu_cre-
       ate(2)  that  refers  to  a specific SPU context.  When the context gets scheduled to a physical SPU, it starts
       execution at the instruction pointer passed in npc.

       Execution of SPU code happens synchronously, meaning that spu_run() blocks while the SPU is still running.   If
       there  is  a  need  to execute SPU code in parallel with other code on either the main CPU or other SPUs, a new
       thread of execution must be created first (e.g., using pthread_create(3)).

       When spu_run() returns, the current value of the SPU program counter is written to npc, so successive calls  to
       spu_run() can use the same npc pointer.

       The  event  argument  provides  a  buffer for an extended status code.  If the SPU context was created with the
       SPU_CREATE_EVENTS_ENABLED flag, then this buffer is populated by the Linux kernel before spu_run() returns.

       The status code may be one (or more) of the following constants:

              A DMA alignment error occurred.

              An invalid MFC DMA command was attempted.

              A DMA storage error occurred.

              An illegal instruction was executed.

       NULL is a valid value for the event argument.  In this case, the events will not be  reported  to  the  calling

       On  success,  spu_run() returns the value of the spu_status register.  On error it returns -1 and sets errno to
       one of the error codes listed below.

       The spu_status register value is a bit mask of status codes and optionally a  14-bit  code  returned  from  the
       stop-and-signal instruction on the SPU.  The bit masks for the status codes are:

       0x02   SPU was stopped by a stop-and-signal instruction.

       0x04   SPU was stopped by a halt instruction.

       0x08   SPU is waiting for a channel.

       0x10   SPU is in single-step mode.

       0x20   SPU has tried to execute an invalid instruction.

       0x40   SPU has tried to access an invalid channel.

              The  bits  masked  with  this value contain the code returned from a stop-and-signal instruction.  These
              bits are only valid if the 0x02 bit is set.

       If spu_run() has not returned an error, one or more bits among the lower eight ones are always set.

       EBADF  fd is not a valid file descriptor.

       EFAULT npc is not a valid pointer, or event is non-NULL and an invalid pointer.

       EINTR  A signal occurred while spu_run() was in progress; see signal(7).  The npc value has been updated to the
              new program counter value if necessary.

       EINVAL fd is not a valid file descriptor returned from spu_create(2).

       ENOMEM There  was  not  enough  memory available to handle a page fault resulting from a Memory Flow Controller
              (MFC) direct memory access.

       ENOSYS The functionality is not provided by the current system, because either the hardware  does  not  provide
              SPUs or the spufs module is not loaded.

       The spu_run() system call was added to Linux in kernel 2.6.16.

       This  call is Linux-specific and only implemented by the PowerPC architecture.  Programs using this system call
       are not portable.

       Glibc does not provide a wrapper for this system call; call it using syscall(2).  Note however, that  spu_run()
       is  meant to be used from libraries that implement a more abstract interface to SPUs, not to be used from regu-
       lar applications.  See for the recommended libraries.

       The following is an example of running a simple, one-instruction SPU program with the spu_run() system call.

       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <stdint.h>
       #include <unistd.h>
       #include <stdio.h>
       #include <sys/types.h>
       #include <fcntl.h>

       #define handle_error(msg) \
           do { perror(msg); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); } while (0)

       int main(void)
           int context, fd, spu_status;
           uint32_t instruction, npc;

           context = spu_create("/spu/example-context", 0, 0755);
           if (context == -1)

           /* write a 'stop 0x1234' instruction to the SPU's
            * local store memory
           instruction = 0x00001234;

           fd = open("/spu/example-context/mem", O_RDWR);
           if (fd == -1)
           write(fd, &instruction, sizeof(instruction));

           /* set npc to the starting instruction address of the
            * SPU program. Since we wrote the instruction at the
            * start of the mem file, the entry point will be 0x0
           npc = 0;

           spu_status = spu_run(context, &npc, NULL);
           if (spu_status == -1)

           /* we should see a status code of 0x1234002:
            *   0x00000002 (spu was stopped due to stop-and-signal)
            * | 0x12340000 (the stop-and-signal code)
           printf("SPU Status: 0x%08x\n", spu_status);


       close(2), spu_create(2), capabilities(7), spufs(7)

       This page is part of release 3.22 of the Linux man-pages project.  A description of the project,  and  informa-
       tion about reporting bugs, can be found at

Linux                             2007-11-25                        SPU_RUN(2)