The Web browser is undoubtedly the single most important application in the mobile ecosystem. An average user spends 72 minutes each day using the mobile Web browser. Web browser internal engines (e.g., WebKit) are also growing in importance because they provide a common substrate for developing various mobile Web applications. In a user-driven, interactive, and latency-sensitive environment, the browser’s performance is crucial. However, the battery-constrained nature of mobile devices limits the performance that we can deliver for mobile Web browsing. As traditional general-purpose techniques to improve performance and energy efficiency fall short, we must employ domain-specific knowledge while still maintaining general-purpose flexibility.
In this paper, we first perform design-space exploration to identify appropriate general-purpose architectures that uniquely fit the characteristics of a popular Web browsing engine. Despite our best effort, we discover sources of energy inefficiency in these customized general-purpose architectures. To mitigate these inefficiencies, we propose, synthesize, and evaluate two new domain-specific specializations, called the Style Resolution Unit and the Browser Engine Cache. Our optimizations boost energy efficiency and at the same time improve mobile Web browsing performance. As emerging mobile workloads increasingly rely more on Web browser technologies, the type of optimizations we propose will become important in the future and are likely to have lasting widespread impact.