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SMTp: an architecture for next-generation scalable multi-threading

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2 Author(s)
Chaudhuri, M. ; Comput. Syst. Lab., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY, USA ; Heinrich, M.

We introduce the SMTp architecture - an SMT processor augmented with a coherence protocol thread context, that together with a standard integrated memory controller can enable the design of (among other possibilities) scalable cache-coherent hardware distributed shared memory (DSM) machines from commodity nodes. We describe the minor changes needed to a conventional out-of-order multi-threaded core to realize SMTp, discussing issues related to both deadlock avoidance and performance. We then compare SMTp performance to that of various conventional DSM machines with normal SMT processors both with and without integrated memory controllers. On configurations from 1 to 32 nodes, with 1 to 4 application threads per node, we find that SMTp delivers performance comparable to, and sometimes better than, machines with more complex integrated DSM-specific memory controllers. Our results also show that the protocol thread has extremely low pipeline overhead. Given the simplicity and the flexibility of the SMTp mechanism, we argue that next-generation multi-threaded processors with integrated memory controllers should adopt this mechanism as a way of building less complex high-performance DSM multiprocessors.

Published in:

Computer Architecture, 2004. Proceedings. 31st Annual International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

19-23 June 2004