Store Vulnerability Window (SVW): Re-Execution Filtering for Enhanced Load Optimization

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The load-store unit is a performance critical component of a dynamically-scheduled processor. It is also a complex and non-scalable component. Several recently proposed techniques use some form of speculation to simplify the load-store unit and check this speculation by re-executing some of the loads prior to commit. We call such techniques load optimizations. One recent load optimization improves load queue (LQ) scalability by using re-execution rather than associative search to check speculative intra- and inter- thread memory ordering. A second technique improves store queue (SQ) scalability by speculatively filtering some load accesses and some store entries from it and re-executing loads to check that speculation. A third technique speculatively removes redundant loads from the execution engine; re-execution detects false eliminations. Unfortunately, the benefits of a load optimization are often mitigated by re-execution itself. Re-execution contends for cache bandwidth with store commit, and serializes load re-execution with subsequent store commit. If a given load optimization requires a sufficient number of load re-executions, the aggregate re-execution cost may overwhelm the benefits of the technique entirely and even cause drastic slowdowns. Store Vulnerability Window (SVW) is a new mechanism that significantly reduces the re-execution requirements of a given load optimization. SVW is based on monotonic store sequence numbering and an adaptation of Bloom filtering. The cost of a typical SVW implementation is a 1KB buffer and a 16-bit field per LQ entry. Across the three optimizations we study, SVW reduces re-executions by an average of 85%. This reduction relieves cache port contention and removes many of the dynamic serialization events that contribute the bulk of re-execution’s cost, allows these load optimizations to perform up to their full potential. For the speculative SQ, this means the chance to perform at all, as without SVW it posts significant slowdowns.

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Copyright 2005 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the 32nd International Symposium on Computer Architecture 2005 (ISCA 2005), pages 458-468. This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.
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