OSCAR: Orchestrating STT-RAM cache traffic for heterogeneous CPU-GPU architectures

Jia Zhan, Onur Kayiran, Gabriel H. Loh, Chita R. Das, Yuan Xie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

43 Scopus citations


As we integrate data-parallel GPUs with general-purpose CPUs on a single chip, the enormous cache traffic generated by GPUs will not only exhaust the limited cache capacity, but also severely interfere with CPU requests. Such heterogeneous multicores pose significant challenges to the design of shared last-level cache (LLC). This problem can be mitigated by replacing SRAM LLC with emerging non-volatile memories like Spin-Transfer Torque RAM (STT-RAM), which provides larger cache capacity and near-zero leakage power. However, without careful design, the slow write operations of STT-RAM may offset the capacity benefit, and the system may still suffer from contention in the shared LLC and on-chip interconnects. While there are cache optimization techniques to alleviate such problems, we reveal that the true potential of STT-RAM LLC may still be limited because now that the cache hit rate has been improved by the increased capacity, the on-chip network can become a performance bottleneck. CPU and GPU packets contend with each other for the shared network bandwidth. Moreover, the mixed-criticality read/write packets to STT-RAM add another layer of complexity to the network resource allocation. Therefore, being aware of the disparate latency tolerance of CPU/GPU applications and the asymmetric read/write latency of STT-RAM, we propose OSCAR to Orchestrate STT-RAM Caches traffic for heterogeneous ARchitectures. Specifically, an integration of asynchronous batch scheduling and priority based allocation for on-chip interconnect is proposed to maximize the potential of STT-RAM based LLC. Simulation results on a 28-GPU and 14-CPU system demonstrate an average of 17.4% performance improvement for CPUs, 10.8% performance improvement for GPUs, and 28.9% LLC energy saving compared to SRAM based LLC design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMICRO 2016 - 49th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781509035083
StatePublished - Dec 14 2016
Event49th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2016 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Oct 15 2016Oct 19 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO
ISSN (Print)1072-4451


Other49th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2016
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


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