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SQUASH: Simple QoS-Aware High-Performance Memory Scheduler for Heterogeneous Systems with Hardware Accelerators

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posted on 01.03.2015, 00:00 authored by Hiroyuki Usui, Lavanya Subramanian, Kevin Chang, Onur Mutlu

Modern SoCs integrate multiple CPU cores and Hardware Accelerators (HWAs) that share the same main memory system, causing interference among memory requests from different agents. The result of this interference, if not controlled well, is missed deadlines for HWAs and low CPU performance. State-of-the-art mechanisms designed for CPU-GPU systems strive to meet a target frame rate for GPUs by prioritizing the GPU close to the time when it has to complete a frame. We observe two major problems when such an approach is adapted to a heterogeneous CPU-HWA system. First, HWAs miss deadlines because they are prioritized only when they are too close to their deadlines. Second, such an approach does not consider the diverse memory access characteristics of different applications running on CPUs and HWAs, leading to low performance for latency-sensitive CPU applications and deadline misses for some HWAs, including GPUs.

In this paper, we propose a Simple QUality of service Aware memory Scheduler for Heterogeneous systems (SQUASH), that overcomes these problems using three key ideas, with the goal of meeting HWAs’ deadlines while providing high CPU performance. First, SQUASH prioritizes a HWA when it is not on track to meet its deadline any time during a deadline period, instead of prioritizing it only when close to a deadline. Second, SQUASH prioritizes HWAs over memory-intensive CPU applications based on the observation that memory-intensive applications’ performance is not sensitive to memory latency. Third, SQUASH treats short-deadline HWAs differently as they are more likely to miss their deadlines and schedules their requests based on worst-case memory access time estimates.

Extensive evaluations across a wide variety of different workloads and systems show that SQUASH achieves significantly better CPU performance than the best previous scheduler while always meeting the deadlines for all HWAs, including GPUs, thereby largely improving frame rates.


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