AbstractsComputer Science

Measuring the effect of memory bandwidth contention in applications on multi-core processors

by Emil Lindberg

Institution: Linköping University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Memory bandwidth; shared resources; contention; Natural Sciences; Computer and Information Science; Computer Engineering; Naturvetenskap; Data- och informationsvetenskap; Datorteknik; Examensarbete i Datorteknik; Computer Engineering
Record ID: 1342921
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114136


In this thesis we design and implement a benchmarking tool for applications' sensitivity to main memory bandwidth contention, in a multi-core environment, on an ARM Cortex-A15 CPU. The tool is supposed to minimize usage of shared resources, except for the main memory bandwidth, allowing it to isolate the effects of the bandwidth contention only. The difficulty in doing this lies in using a correct memory access pattern for this purpose, i.e. which memory addresses to access, in which order and at what rate in order to minimize cache usage while generating a high and controllable main memory bandwidth usage. We manage to implement a tool with low cache memory usage while still being able to saturate the main memory bandwidth. The tool uses a proportional-integral controller to control the amount of bandwidth it uses. We then use the tool to investigate the memory behaviour of the platform and of some applications when the tool is using a variable amount of bandwidth. However, we have some difficulties in analyzing the results due to the lack of support for hardware performance counters in the operating system we are using and are forced to rely on hardware timers for our data gathering. Another difficulty is the platform's limited L2 cache bandwidth, which leads to a heavy impact on L2 cache read latency by the tool. Despite this, we are able to draw some conclusions on the bandwidth usage of other applications in optimal cases with the help of the tool.