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Focused Prefetching: Performance Oriented Prefetching Based on Commit Stalls

International Conference on Supercomputing (ICS 2008)
Island of Kos, Greece, June 7--12, 2008


  1. R. Manikantan, Department of Computer Science and Automation
  2. R. Govindarajan, Supercomputer Education and Research Centre; Department of Computer Science and Automation


Loads that miss in L1 or L2 caches, and waiting for their data at the head of the ROB cause significant slow down in the form of commit stalls. We identify that most of these commit stalls are caused by a small set of loads, referred to as LIMCOS (Loads Incurring Majority of COmmit Stalls). We propose simple history-based classifiers that track commit stalls suffered by loads to help us identify this small set of loads.

We study an application of these classifiers to prefetching. The classifiers are used to train the prefetcher to focus on the misses suffered by LIMCOS. This, referred to as focused prefetching, results in a 9.8% gain in IPC over naive GHB based delta correlation prefetcher along with a 20.3% reduction in memory traffic for a set of 17 memory-intensive SPEC2000 benchmarks. Another important impact of focused prefetching is a 61% improvement in the accuracy of prefetches. We demonstrate that the proposed classification criterion performs better than other existing criteria like criticality and delinquent loads.

Also we show that the criterion of focusing on commit stalls is robust enough across cache levels and can be applied to any prefetcher without any modifications to the prefetcher.


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