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A Comparative Evaluation of Hardware-Only and Software-Only Directory Protocols in Shared-Memory Multiprocessors

Grahn Håkan ; Per Stenström (Institutionen för datorteknik, Datorarkitektur)
Journal of systems architecture (1383-7621). Vol. 50 (2004), 9, p. 537–561.
[Artikel, refereegranskad vetenskaplig]

The hardware complexity of hardware-only directory protocols in shared-memory multiprocessors has motivated many researchers to emulate directory management by software handlers executed on the compute processors, called software-only directory protocols. In this paper, we evaluate the performance and design trade-offs between these two approaches in the same architectural simulation framework driven by eight applications from the SPLASH-2 suite. Our evaluation reveals some common case operations that can be supported by simple hardware mechanisms and can make the performance of software-only directory protocols competitive with that of hardware-only protocols. These mechanisms aim at either reducing the software handler latency or hiding it by overlapping it with the message latencies associated with inter-node memory transactions. Further, we evaluate the effects of cache block sizes between 16 and 256 bytes as well as two different page placement policies. Overall, we find that a software-only directory protocol enhanced with these mechanisms can reach between 63% and 97% of the baseline hardware-only protocol performance at a lower design complexity.

Nyckelord: Shared-memory multiprocessors, Cache coherence, Hardware-only directory protocols, Software-only directory protocols, Performance evaluation

Denna post skapades 2006-11-23. Senast ändrad 2013-06-17.
CPL Pubid: 23427


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Institutioner (Chalmers)

Institutionen för datorteknik, Datorarkitektur (2002-2004)



Chalmers infrastruktur