Efficient Memory Modeling During Simulation and Native Execution

  • Date:
  • Location: Sal VIII, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Nikoleris, Nikos
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Avdelningen för datorteknik
  • Contact person: Nikoleris, Nikos
  • Disputation

Application performance on computer processors depends on a number of complex architectural and microarchitectural design decisions. Consequently, computer architects rely on performance modeling to improve future processors without building prototypes. This thesis focuses on performance modeling and proposes methods that quantify the impact of the memory system on application performance.

Detailed architectural simulation, a common approach to performance modeling, can be five orders of magnitude slower than execution on the actual processor. At this rate, simulating realistic workloads requires years of CPU time. Prior research uses sampling to speed up simulation. Using sampled simulation, only a number of small but representative portions of the workload are evaluated in detail. To fully exploit the speed potential of sampled simulation, the simulation method has to efficiently reconstruct the architectural and microarchitectural state prior to the simulation samples. Practical approaches to sampled simulation use either functional simulation at the expense of performance or checkpoints at the expense of flexibility. This thesis proposes three approaches that use statistical cache modeling to efficiently address the problem of cache warm up and speed up sampled simulation, without compromising flexibility. The statistical cache model uses sparse memory reuse information obtained with native techniques to model the performance of the cache. The proposed sampled simulation framework evaluates workloads 150 times faster than approaches that use functional simulation to warm up the cache.

Other approaches to performance modeling use analytical models based on data obtained from execution on native hardware. These native techniques allow for better understanding of the performance bottlenecks on existing hardware. Efficient resource utilization in modern multicore processors is necessary to exploit their peak performance. This thesis proposes native methods that characterize shared resource utilization in modern multicores. These methods quantify the impact of cache sharing and off-chip memory sharing on overall application performance. Additionally, they can quantify scalability bottlenecks for data-parallel, symmetric workloads.