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Modeling memory concurrency for multi-socket multi-core systems

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3 Author(s)
Mandal, A. ; Renaissance Comput. Inst., Chapel Hill, NC, USA ; Fowler, R. ; Porterfield, A.

Multi-core computers are ubiquitous and multi-socket versions dominate as nodes in compute clusters. Given the high level of parallelism inherent in processor chips, the ability of memory systems to serve a large number of concurrent memory access operations is becoming a critical performance problem. The most common model of memory performance uses just two numbers, peak bandwidth and typical access latency. We introduce concurrency as an explicit parameter of the measurement and modeling processes to characterize more accurately the complexity of memory behavior of multi-socket, multi-core systems. We present a detailed experimental multi-socket, multi-core memory study based on the PCHASE benchmark, which can vary memory loads by controlling the number of concurrent memory references per thread. The make-up and structure of the memory have a major impact on achievable bandwidth. Three discrete bottlenecks were observed at different levels of the hardware architecture: limits on the number of references outstanding per core; limits to the memory requests serviced by a single memory controller; and limits on the global memory concurrency. We use these results to build a memory performance model that ties concurrency, latency and bandwidth together to create a more accurate model of overall performance. We show that current commodity memory sub-systems cannot handle the load offered by high-end processor chips.

Published in:

Performance Analysis of Systems & Software (ISPASS), 2010 IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

28-30 March 2010