A Prefetch Taxonomy

Abstract

The diierence in processor and main memory cycle time has necessitated the use of aggressive prefetching techniques to reduce or hide main memory access latency. However, prefetching can signiicantly increase memory bandwidth and unsuccessful prefetches may even pollute the primary cache. Although the current metrics, coverage and accuracy, do provide an impression of the overall quality of a prefetching algorithm, they are simplistic and do not unambiguously and precisely explain the performance of a prefetching algorithm. In this paper, we introduce a new and complete taxonomy for classifying prefetches, accounting for the diierence in traac and misses generated by each prefetch. Our classiication of individual prefetches is very useful in identifying the speciic strengths and weaknesses of an existing prefetch implementation and we demonstrate it by applying our taxonomy to two implementable prefetching techniques. Based on the histogram of prefetches by category we developed a static lter to reduce/eliminate polluting prefetches of any given prefetching technique.

DOI: 10.1109/TC.2004.1261824

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