Date of Award

Summer 2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Amir Roth

Abstract

Around 2003, newly activated power constraints caused single-thread performance growth to slow dramatically. The multi-core era was born with an emphasis on explicitly parallel software. Continuing to grow single-thread performance is still important in the multi-core context, but it must be done in an energy efficient way.

One significant impediment to performance growth in both out-of-order and in-order processors is the long latency of last-level cache misses. Prior work introduced the idea of load latency tolerance---the ability to dynamically remove miss-dependent instructions from critical execution structures, continue execution under the miss, and re-execute miss-dependent instructions after the miss returns. However, previously proposed designs were unable to improve performance in an energy-efficient way---they introduced too many new large, complex structures and re-executed too many instructions.

This dissertation describes a new load latency tolerant design that is both energy-efficient, and applicable to both in-order and out-of-order cores. Key novel features include formulation of slice re-execution as an alternative use of multi-threading support, efficient schemes for register and memory state management, and new pruning mechanisms for drastically reducing load latency tolerance's dynamic execution overheads.

Area analysis shows that energy-efficient load latency tolerance increases the footprint of an out-of-order core by a few percent, while cycle-level simulation shows that it significantly improves the performance of memory-bound programs. Energy-efficient load latency tolerance is more energy-efficient than---and synergistic with---existing performance technique like dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS).

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