3.4 Affinity routing and assignment

The GIC-600 uses affinity routing, a hierarchical scheme, to identify connected cores and for routing interrupts to specific cores.

The Arm architecture defines a register in a core that identifies the logical address of the core in the system. This register, which is known as the Multiprocessor Identification Register (MPIDR), has a hierarchical format. Each level of the hierarchy is known as an affinity level, with the highest affinity level specified first:

  • For 32-bit ARMv8 processors, the MPIDR defines three levels of affinity, with an implicit affinity level 3 value of 0.
  • For 64-bit ARMv8 processors, the MPIDR defines four levels of affinity.


The GIC-600 regards each hardware thread of a processor that supports multiple hardware threads as a single independent core.

The affinity of a core is represented by four 8-bit fields using dot-decimal notation, <Aff3>.<Aff2>.<Aff1>.<Aff0>, where Affn is a value for affinity level n. An example of an identification for a specific core would be

The affinity scheme matches the format of the MPIDR_EL1 register in ARMv8-A. System designers must ensure that the ID reported by the core of the MPIDR_EL1 register matches how the core is connected to the interrupt controller.

The GIC-600 allows fully flexible allocation of MPIDR. However, it has two built-in default assignments that are based on the aff0_thread configuration parameter, see the Arm®CoreLink™ GIC‑600 Generic Interrupt Controller Configuration and Integration Manual.

  • When aff0_thread == 1, the four fields are mapped to 0.<cluster>.<core>.<thread>.
  • When aff0_thread == 0, the four fields are mapped to 0.0.<cluster>.<core>.

The following figure shows the affinity hierarchical structure.

Figure 3-1 Affinity routing
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There can be up to 256 nodes at level 3, with each node able to host 256 child level 2 nodes. Similarly each level 2 node can host 256 level 1 nodes. However, level 1 nodes can only host 16 child level 0 nodes.

For more information about affinity routing, see the Arm® GICv3 and GICv4 Software Overview, and the Arm® Generic Interrupt Controller Architecture Specification, GIC architecture version 3.0 and version 4.0.

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