Uppsala paper at ICS 2013

Towards more efficient execution: a decoupled access-execute approach.

ICS ’13 Proceedings of the 27th international ACM conference on International conference on supercomputing

Abstract: The end of Dennard scaling is expected to shrink the range of DVFS in future nodes, limiting the energy savings of this technique. This paper evaluates how much we can increase the effectiveness of DVFS by using a software decoupled access-execute approach. Decoupling the data access from execution allows us to apply optimal voltage-frequency selection for each phase and therefore improve energy efficiency over standard coupled execution.

The underlying insight of our work is that by decoupling access and execute we can take advantage of the memory-bound nature of the access phase and the compute-bound nature of the execute phase to optimize power efficiency, while maintaining good performance. To demonstrate this we built a task based parallel execution infrastructure consisting of: (1) a runtime system to orchestrate the execution, (2) power models to predict optimal voltage-frequency selection at runtime, (3) a modeling infrastructure based on hardware measurements to simulate zero-latency, per-core DVFS, and (4) a hardware measurement infrastructure to verify our model’s accuracy.

Based on real hardware measurements we project that the combination of decoupled access-execute and DVFS has the potential to improve EDP by 25% without hurting performance. On memory-bound applications we significantly improve performance due to increased MLP in the access phase and ILP in the execute phase. Furthermore we demonstrate that our method can achieve high performance both in presence or absence of a hardware prefetcher.

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