Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
To match the increasing computational demands of GPGPU applications and to improve peak compute throughput, the core counts in GPUs have been increasing with every generation. However, the famous memory wall is a major performance determinant in GPUs. In other words, in most cases, peak throughput in GPUs is ultimately dictated by memory bandwidth. Therefore, to serve the memory demands of thousands of concurrently executing threads, GPUs are equipped with several sources of bandwidth such as on-chip private/shared caching resources and off-chip high bandwidth memories. However, the existing sources of bandwidth are often not sufficient for achieving optimal GPU performance. Therefore, it is important to conserve and improve memory bandwidth utilization. To achieve the aforementioned goal, this dissertation focuses on improving on-chip cache bandwidth by managing cache line (data) replication across L1 caches via rethinking the cache hierarchy and the interconnect design. Such data replication stems from the private nature of the L1 caches and inter-core locality. Specifically, each GPU core can independently request and store a given cache line (in its local L1 cache) while being oblivious to the previous requests of other cores. This dissertation treats inter-core locality (i.e., data replication) as a double-edged sword, and proposes the following. First, this dissertation shows that efficient inter-core communication can exploit data replication across the L1 caches to unlock an additional potential source of on-chip bandwidth, which we call as remote-core bandwidth. We propose to efficiently coordinate the data movement across GPU cores to exploit this remote-core bandwidth by investigating: a) which data is replicated across cores, b) which cores have the replicated data, and c) how to fetch the replicated data as soon as possible. Second, this dissertation shows that if data replication is eliminated (or reduced), then the L1 caches can effectively cache more data, leading to higher hit rates and more on-chip bandwidth. We propose designing a shared L1 cache organization, which restricts each core to cache only a unique slice of the address range, eliminating data replication. We develop lightweight mechanisms to: a) reduce the inter-core communication overheads and b) to identify applications that prefer the private L1 organization and hence execute them accordingly. Third, to improve the performance, area, and energy efficiency of the shared L1 organization, this dissertation proposes DC-L1 (DeCoupled-L1) cache, an L1 cache separated from the GPU core. We show how the decoupled nature of the DC-L1 caches provides an opportunity to aggregate the L1 caches, and enables low-overhead efficient data placement designs. These optimizations reduce data replication across the L1s and increase their bandwidth utilization. Altogether, this dissertation develops several innovative techniques to improve the efficiency of the GPU on-chip memory system, which are necessary to address the memory wall problem. The future work will explore other designs and techniques to improve on-chip bandwidth utilization by considering other bandwidth sources (e.g., scratchpad and L2 cache).
© The Author
Ibrahim, Mohamed Assem Abd ElMohsen, "Rethinking Cache Hierarchy And Interconnect Design For Next-Generation Gpus" (2021). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1627047836.