LCS Publication Details
Publication Author: Owicki, Susan
Additional Authors: Anant, Anant
LCS Document Number: MIT-LCS-TM-395
Publication Date: 6-1-1989
LCS Group: No Group Specified
Additional URL: No URL Given
In a shared-memory multiprocessor with private caches, cached copies of a data item must be kept consistent. This is called cache coherence. Both hardware and software coherence schemes have been proposed. Software techniques are attractive because they avoid hardware complexity and can be used with any processor-memory interconnection. This paper presents an analytical model of the performance of two software coherence schemes and, for comparison, snoopy-cache hardware. The model is validated against address traces from a bus-based multiprocessor. The behavior of the coherence schemes under various workloads is compared, and their sensitivity to variations in workload parameters is assessed. The analysis shows that the performance of software schemes is critically determined by certain parameters of the workload: the proportion of data accesses, the fraction of shared references and the number of times a shared block is accessed before it is purged from the cache. Snoopy caches are more resilient to variations in theses parameters. Thus when evaluating a software scheme as a design alternative, it is essential to consider the characteristics of the expected workload. The performance of the two software schemes with a multistage interconnection network is also evaluated, and it is determined that both scale well.
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