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Chip multiprocessors (CMPs) are becoming a popular way of exploiting ever-increasing number of on-chip transistors. At the same time, the location of data on the chip can play a critical role in the performance of these CMPs because of the growing on-chip storage capacities and the relative cost of wire delays. It is important to locate the data at the right place at the right time in the on-chip cache hierarchy. This paper presents a novel L2 cache organization for CMPs with these goals in mind. We first study the data sharing characteristics of a wide spectrum of multi-threaded applications and show that, while there are a considerable number of L2 accesses to shared data, the volume of this data is relatively low. Consequently, it is important to keep this shared data fairly close to all processor cores for both performance and power reasons. Motivated by this observation, we propose a small center cell cache residing in the middle of the processor cores which provides fast access to its contents. We demonstrate that this cache organization can considerably lower the number of block migrations between the L2 portions that are closer to each core, thus providing better performance and power.
Date of Conference: 25-29 April 2006