Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article


Martin, M., Hill, M., & Sorin, D., Why On-Chip Cache Coherence is Here to Stay, Communications of the ACM, July 2012, doi: 10.1145/2209249.2209269

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Today’s multicore chips commonly implement shared memory with cache coherence as low-level support for operating systems and application software. Technology trends continue to enable the scaling of the number of (processor) cores per chip. Because conventional wisdom says that the coherence does not scale well to many cores, some prognosticators predict the end of coherence. This paper refutes this conventional wisdom by showing one way to scale on-chip cache coherence with bounded costs by combining known techniques such as: shared caches augmented to track cached copies, explicit cache eviction notifications, and hierarchical design. Based upon our scalability analysis of this proof-of-concept design, we predict that on-chip coherence and the programming convenience and compatibility it provides are here to stay.



Date Posted: 27 July 2012