Selecting Benchmark Combinations for the Evaluation of Multicore Throughput

Ricardo A. Velasquez 1 Pierre Michaud 1 André Seznec 1
1 ALF - Amdahl's Law is Forever
Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique , IRISA-D3 - ARCHITECTURE
Abstract : Most high-performance processors today are able to execute multiple threads of execution simultaneously. Threads share processor resources, like the last-level cache, which may decrease throughput in a non obvious way, depending on threads' characteristics. Computer architects usually study multiprogrammed workloads by considering a set of benchmarks and some combinations of these benchmarks. Because detailed microarchitecture simulators are slow, we want a subset of combinations that is as small as possible, yet representative. However, there is no standard method for selecting such sample, and different authors have used different methods. It is not clear how the choice of a particular sample impacts the conclusions of a study. We propose and compare different sampling methods for defining multiprogrammed workloads for computer architecture studies. We evaluate their effectiveness with a case study, the comparison of several multicore last-level cache replacement policies. We show that random sampling, the simplest method, is a possible way to define a representative workload sample, provided the sample is large enough. We propose a method for estimating the required sample size based on fast approximate simulation. We propose a new method, workload stratification, which is very effective at reducing the sample size in situations where random sampling would require large samples.
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Ricardo A. Velasquez, Pierre Michaud, André Seznec. Selecting Benchmark Combinations for the Evaluation of Multicore Throughput. International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software, Apr 2013, Austin, United States. ⟨10.1109/ISPASS.2013.6557168⟩. ⟨hal-00788824⟩

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