, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 529-559

Using the First-Level Caches as Filters to Reduce the Pollution Caused by Speculative Memory References

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Abstract

High-performance processors employ aggressive branch prediction and prefetching techniques to increase performance. Speculative memory references caused by these techniques sometimes bring data into the caches that are not needed by correct execution. This paper proposes the use of the first-level caches as filters that predict the usefulness of speculative memory references. With the proposed technique, speculative memory references bring data only into the first-level caches rather than all levels in the cache hierarchy. The processor monitors the use of the cache blocks in the first-level caches and decides which blocks to keep in the cache hierarchy based on the usefulness of cache blocks. It is shown that a simple implementation of this technique usually outperforms inclusive and exclusive baseline cache hierarchies commonly used by today’s processors and results in IPC performance improvements of up to 10% on the SPEC CPU2000 integer benchmarks.