spu_run(2) — Linux manual page


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

NAME         top

       spu_run - execute an SPU context

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <sys/spu.h>

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

       Note: There is no glibc wrapper for this system call; see NOTES.

DESCRIPTION         top

       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_create(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

       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()

       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 process.

RETURN VALUE         top

       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 valid only 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.

ERRORS         top

       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

       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.

VERSIONS         top

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

CONFORMING TO         top

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

NOTES         top

       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 regular applications.  See 
       ⟨http://www.bsc.es/projects/deepcomputing/linuxoncell/⟩ for the recom‐
       mended libraries.

EXAMPLES         top

       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);


SEE ALSO         top

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

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of release 5.08 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the
       latest version of this page, can be found at

Linux                            2020-06-09                       SPU_RUN(2)

Pages that refer to this page: spu_create(2)syscalls(2)spufs(7)