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Performance tradeoffs in multithreaded processors

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1 Author(s)
Agarwal, A. ; Lab. for Comput. Sci., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA

An analytical performance model for multithreaded processors that includes cache interference, network contention, context-switching overhead, and data-sharing effects is presented. The model is validated through the author's simulations and by comparison with previously published simulation results. The results indicate that processors can substantially benefit from multithreading, even in systems with small caches, provided sufficient network bandwidth exists. Caches that are much larger than the working-set sizes of individual processes yield close to full processor utilization with as few as two to four contexts. Smaller caches require more contexts to keep the processor busy, while caches that are comparable in size to the working-sets of individual processes cannot achieve a high utilization regardless of the number of contexts. Increased network contention due to multithreading has a major effect on performance. The available network bandwidth and the context-switching overhead limits the best possible utilization

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 5 )