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Accurate and Complexity-Effective Spatial Pattern Prediction

Tuesday March 23, 2004
Hamerschlag Hall D-210
4:00 pm

Chi Chen
Carnegie Mellon University

Recent research suggests that there are large variations in a cache's spatial usage, both within and across programs. Unfortunately, conventional caches typically employ fixed cache line sizes to balance the exploitation of spatial and temporal locality and to avoid prohibitive cache fill bandwidth demands. The resulting inability of conventional caches to exploit spatial variations leads to sub-optimal performance and unnecessary cache power dissipation.

This talk presents the Spatial Pattern Predictor (SPP), a cost-effective hardware mechanism that accurately predicts reference patterns within a spatial group, i.e., a contiguous region of data in memory, at runtime. The key observation enabling an accurate, yet low-cost, SPP design is that spatial patterns correlate well with instruction addresses and data reference offsets within a cache line. The SPP requires only a small amount of predictor memory to store the predicted patterns. The simulation results of SPEC CPU2000 benchmarks show that: (1) with a modest amount of predictor memory, the SPP can achieve a prediction coverage of 95% on average, (2) assuming a 70nm CMOS technology, the SPP helps reduce leakage energy in the base cache by 41% on average, incurring less than 1% performance degradation, and (3) prefetching spatial groups of up to 512 bytes using the SPP can improve execution time by as much as 2x.

Chi Chen is a graduate student working in the Computer Architecture Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Arizona. Chi's current research interests are centered on proactive power-aware memory hierarchies. He is also seriously interested in making profits from arbitrages in equity markets. His academic advisor is Professor Babak Falsafi.


Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringCarnegie Mellon UniversitySchool of Computer Science