, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 209-232

Relationship between average and real memory behavior

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The CRAY Y-MP has a nonintrusive hardware performance monitor that accurately accumulates certain data about program performance. This paper examines the relationship between the averages obtained from the hardware performance monitor and actual memory behavior of the Perfect Club Benchmarks run on a single processor of an eight-processor CRAY Y-MP. I/O and instruction buffer fetches are not considered. The vectorized programs show regular behavior characterized by dominant vector lengths and interburst times. The distribution of vector lengths is not well-predicted by hardware performance monitor averages. Scalar programs also exhibit some clumping of memory references but have less temporal regularity than the vectorized programs. While overall port utilization is surprisingly low, there is considerable cyclic variation, and all of the ports tend to experience their maximal loading at the same time. A simple probabilistic model is developed to allow estimation of port utilitzation from hardware performance monitor data. The results can be used as a guide for generating more realistic synthetic memory workloads and port utilization estimates for shared-memory machines.