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Dynamic optimization relies on phase detection for two important functions (1) To detect change in code working set and (2) To detect change in performance characteristics that can affect optimization strategy. Current prototype runtime optimization systems (J. Lu et al) compare aggregate metrics like CPI over fixed time intervals to detect a change in working set and a change in performance. While simple and cost-effective, these metrics are sensitive to sampling rate and interval size. A phase detection scheme that computes performance metrics by aggregating the performance of individually optimized regions can be misled by some regions impacting aggregate metrics adversely. In this paper, we investigate the benefits and limitations of using aggregate metrics for phase detection, which we call global phase detection (GPD). We present a new model to detect change in working set and propose that the scope of phase detection be limited to within the candidate regions for optimization. By associating phase detection to individual regions we can isolate the effects of regions that are inherently unstable. This approach, which we call local phase detection (LPD), shows improved performance on several benchmarks even when global phase detection is not able to detect stable phases.
Date of Conference: 26-29 March 2006