Using Hardware Counters to Automatically Improve Memory Performance

TitleUsing Hardware Counters to Automatically Improve Memory Performance
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsTikir MM, Hollingsworth J
Conference NameProceedings of the 2004 ACM/IEEE conference on Supercomputing
Date Published2004///
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN Number0-7695-2153-3

In this paper, we introduce a profile-driven online page migration scheme and investigate its impact on the performance of multithreaded applications. We use lightweight, inexpensive plug-in hardware counters to profile the memory access behavior of an application, and then migrate pages to memory local to the most frequently accessing processor. Using the Dyninst runtime instrumentation combined with hardware counters, we were able to add page migration capabilities to the system without having to modify the operating system kernel, or to re-compile application programs. This approach reduced the total number of non-local memory accesses of applications by up to 90%. Even on a system with small remote to local memory access latency rations, this resulted in up to 16% improvement in execution time.