Minimizing Single-Usage Cache Pollution for Effective Cache Hierarchy Management

Thomas Piquet 1 Olivier Rochecouste 1 André Seznec 1
1 CAPS - Compilation, parallel architectures and system
IRISA - Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires, Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique
Abstract : Efficient cache hierarchy management is of a paramount importance when designing high performance processors. Upon a miss, the conventional operation mode of a cache hierarchy is to retrieve back the missing block from higher levels and to store the block into all hierarchy levels. It is however difficult to assert that storing the block into intermediate levels will be really useful. In the literature, this phenomenon, referred to as cache pollution, is often associated with prefetching techniques, that is, a prefetched block could evict data that is more likely to be reused in a near future. Cache pollution could cause severe performance degradation. This paper is typically concerned with addressing this phenomenon in the highest level of cache hierarchy. Unlike past studies that treat polluting cache blocks as blocks that are never accessed (i.e. only due to prefetching), our proposal rather attempts to eliminate cache pollution that is inherent to the application. Our observations did indeed reveal that cache blocks that are only accessed once - single-usage blocks - are quite significant at runtime and especially in the highest level of cache hierarchy. In addition, most single-usage cache blocks are data that can be prefetched. We show that employing a simple prediction mechanism is sufficient to uncover most of the single-usage blocks. For a two-level cache hierarchy, these blocks are directly sent from main memory to L1 cache. Performing data bypassing on L2 cache maximizes memory hierarchy and allows hard-toprefetch memory references to remain into this cache hierarchy level. Our experimental results show that minimizing single-usage cache pollution in the L2 cache leads to a significant decrease in its miss rate; resulting therefore in noticeable performance gains.
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Rapport
[Research Report] PI 1826, 2006, pp.19
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Thomas Piquet, Olivier Rochecouste, André Seznec. Minimizing Single-Usage Cache Pollution for Effective Cache Hierarchy Management. [Research Report] PI 1826, 2006, pp.19. 〈inria-00116611〉

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