Protozoa: adaptive granularity cache coherence

Abstract

State-of-the-art multiprocessor cache hierarchies propagate the use of a fixed granularity in the cache organization to the design of the coherence protocol. Unfortunately, the fixed granularity, generally chosen to match average spatial locality across a range of applications, not only results in wasted bandwidth to serve an individual thread's access needs, but also results in unnecessary coherence traffic for shared data. The additional bandwidth has a direct impact on both the scalability of parallel applications and overall energy consumption. In this paper, we present the design of Protozoa, a family of coherence protocols that eliminate unnecessary coherence traffic and match data movement to an application's spatial locality. Protozoa continues to maintain metadata at a conventional fixed cache line granularity while 1) supporting variable read and write caching granularity so that data transfer matches application spatial granularity, 2) invalidating at the granularity of the write miss request so that readers to disjoint data can co-exist with writers, and 3) potentially supporting multiple non-overlapping writers within the cache line, thereby avoiding the traditional ping-pong effect of both read-write and write-write false sharing. Our evaluation demonstrates that Protozoa consistently reduce miss rate and improve the fraction of transmitted data that is actually utilized.

DOI: 10.1145/2485922.2485969

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