Heterogeneity-awareness in multithreaded multicore processors
ColaboratorRamírez Bellido, Alejandro; Cazorla Almeida, Francisco Javier; Valero Cortés, Mateo; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Arquitectura de Computadors
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
During the last decades, Computer Architecture has experienced a great series of revolutionary changes. The increasing transistor count on a single chip has led to some of the main milestones in the field, from the release of the first Superscalar (1965) to the state-of-the-art Multithreaded Multicore Architectures, like the Intel Core i7 (2009).Moore's Law has continued for almost half of a century and is not expected to stop for at least another decade, and perhaps much longer. Moore observed a trend in the process technology advances. So, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. Nevertheless, having more available transistors can not be always directly translated into having more performance.The complexity of state-of-the-art software has reached heights unthinkable in prior ages, both in terms of the amount of computation and the complexity involved. If we deeply analyze this complexity in software we would realize that software is comprised of smaller execution processes that, although maintaining certain spatial/temporal locality, imply an inherently heterogeneous behavior. That is, during execution time the hardware executes very different portions of software, with huge differences in terms of behavior and hardware requirements. This heterogeneity in the behaviour of the software is not specific of the latest videogame, but it is inherent to software programming itself, since the very beginning of Algorithmics.In this PhD dissertation we deeply analyze the inherent heterogeneity present in software behavior. We identify the main issues and sources of this heterogeneity, that hamper most of the state-of-the-art processor designs from obtaining their maximum potential. Hence, the heterogeneity in software turns most of the current processors, commonly called general-purpose processors, into overdesigned. That is, they have much more hardware resources than really needed to execute the software running on them. This fact would not represent a main problem if we were not concerned on the additional power consumption involved in software computation.The final goal of this PhD dissertation consists in assigning each portion of software exactly the amount of hardware resources really needed to fully exploit its maximal potential; without consuming more energy than the strictly needed. That is, obtaining complexity-effective executions using the inherent heterogeneity in software behavior as steering indicator. Thus, we start deeply analyzing the heterogenous behaviour of the software run on top of general-purpose processors and then matching it on top of a heterogeneously distributed hardware, which explicitly exploit heterogeneous hardware requirements. Only by being heterogeneity-aware in software, and appropriately matching this software heterogeneity on top of hardware heterogeneity, may we effectively obtain better processor designs.The PhD dissertation is comprised of four main contributions that cover both multithreaded single-core (hdSMT) and multicore (TCA Algorithm, hTCA Framework and MFLUSH) scenarios, deeply explained in their corresponding chapters in the PhD dissertation memory. Overall, these contributions cover a significant range of the Heterogeneity-Aware Processors' design space. Within this design space, we have focused on the state-of-the-art trend in processor design: Multithreaded Multicore (CMP+SMT) Processors.We make special emphasis on the MPsim simulation tool, specifically designed and developed for this PhD dissertation. This tool has already gone beyond this PhD dissertation, becoming a reference tool by an important group of researchers spread over the Computer Architecture Department (DAC) at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC).
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