Notes on Hur and Lin, Feedback Mechanisms for Improving Probabilistic Memory Prefetching

As with all my handwritten notes, this has the usual disclaimer: these posts are just so I can use nice indexed search to find my notes, which are sufficient for me to recall talks and papers but probably not much use to anyone else. Paper here. Patents here and here

This paper presents three techniques for improving the effectiveness of the recently proposed Adaptive Stream Detection (ASD) prefetching mechanism. The ASD prefetcher is a standard stream buffer that takes a probabilistic feedback-based probabilistic approach to identifying streams. Its strength lies in its ability to effectively prefetch streams that are as short as two consecutive cache lines,which allows it to exploit spatial locality even for programs that have irregular access patterns.

The first technique improves a stream buffer’s ability todetect short streams, which significantly increases the potential of stream-based prefetching. For example, for the SPECfp milc benchmark, this new technique doubles the number of detectable streams from 33% to 67%. The second technique improves the quality of the ASD prefetcher’s feedback mechanism by adaptively adjusting the epoch length—the length of time used to represent the recent pastbehavior—according to a simple similarity metric. The third technique improves the timing of prefetches by sup-porting variable-length prefetching of multiple cache lines.

Collectively, these techniques almost double the effectiveness of the ASD prefetcher, improving the performance of the ASD prefetcher by 11.2% for the SPECfp benchmarks, by 10.3% for the NAS benchmarks, and by 13.2%for a set of commercial benchmarks that exhibit poor spatial locality. The improved performance in turn decreases DRAM energy consumption by 7.3%, 8.3%, and 9.4%, respectively, for the same three benchmark suites

Notes on Hur and Lin, Feedback Mechanisms for Improving Probabilistic Memory Prefetching

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