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Asymmetry-aware execution placement on manycore chips

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2013, 00:00 by Alexey Tumanov, Joshua Wise, Onur Mutlu, Gregory R Ganger

Network-on-chip based manycore systems with multiple memory controllers on a chip are gaining prevalence. Among other research considerations, placing an increasing number of cores on a chip creates a type of resource access asymmetries that didn’t exist before. A common assumption of uniform or hierarchical memory controller access no longer holds. In this paper, we report on our experience with memory access asymmetries in a real manycore processor, the implications and extent of the problem they pose, and one potential thread placement solution that mitigates them. Our user-space scheduler harvests memory controller usage information generated in kernel space on a per process basis and enables thread placement decisions informed by threads’ historical physical memory usage patterns. Results reveal a clear need for low-overhead, per-process memory controller hardware counters and show improved benchmark and application performance with a memory controller usage-aware execution placement policy.