Reducing set-associative cache energy via way-prediction and selective direct-mapping


Set-associative caches achieve low miss rates for typical applications but result in significant energy dissipation. Set-associative caches minimize access time by probing all the data ways in parallel with the tag lookup, although the output of only the matching way is used. The energy spent accessing the other ways is wasted. Eliminating the wasted energy by performing the data lookup sequentially following the tag lookup substantially increases cache access time, and is unacceptable for high-performance L1 caches. In this paper, we apply two previously-proposed techniques, way-prediction and selective direct-mapping, to reducing L1 cache dynamic energy while maintaining high performance. The techniques predict the matching way and probe only the predicted way and not all the ways, achieving energy savings. While these techniques were originally proposed to improve set-associative cache access times, this is the first paper to apply them to reducing cache energy.We evaluate the effectiveness of these techniques in reducing L1 d-cache, L1 i-cache, and overall processor energy. Using these techniques, our caches achieve the energy-delay of sequential access while maintaining the performance of parallel access. Relative to parallel access L1 i- and d-caches, the techniques achieve overall processor energy-delay reduction of 8%, while perfect way-prediction with no performance degradation achieves 10% reduction. The performance degradation of the techniques is less than 3%, compared to an aggressive, 1-cycle, 4-way, parallel access cache.

DOI: 10.1145/563998.564007

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@inproceedings{Powell2001ReducingSC, title={Reducing set-associative cache energy via way-prediction and selective direct-mapping}, author={Michael D. Powell and Amit Agarwal and T. N. Vijaykumar and Babak Falsafi and Kaushik Roy}, booktitle={MICRO}, year={2001} }