Leveraging Core Specialization via OS Scheduling to Improve Performance on Asymmetric Multicore Systems

Juan Carlos Saez, Alexandra Fedorova, David Koufaty, Manuel Prieto
2012 ACM Transactions on Computer Systems  
Asymmetric multicore processors (AMPs) consist of cores with the same ISA (instruction-set architecture), but different microarchitectural features, speed, and power consumption. Because cores with more complex features and higher speed typically use more area and consume more energy relative to simpler and slower cores, we must use these cores for running applications that experience significant performance improvements from using those features. Having cores of different types in a single
more » ... em allows optimizing the performance/energy trade-off. To deliver this potential to unmodified applications, the OS scheduler must map threads to cores in consideration of the properties of both. Our work describes a Comprehensive scheduler for Asymmetric Multicore Processors (CAMP) that addresses shortcomings of previous asymmetryaware schedulers. First, previous schedulers catered to only one kind of workload properties that are crucial for scheduling on AMPs; either efficiency or thread-level parallelism (TLP), but not both. CAMP overcomes this limitation showing how using both efficiency and TLP in synergy in a single scheduling algorithm can improve performance. Second, most existing schedulers relying on models for estimating how much faster a thread executes on a "fast" vs. "slow" core (i.e., the speedup factor) were specifically designed for AMP systems where cores differ only in clock frequency. However, more realistic AMP systems include cores that differ more significantly in their features. To demonstrate the effectiveness of CAMP on more realistic scenarios, we augmented the CAMP scheduler with a model that predicts the speedup factor on a real AMP prototype that closely matches future asymmetric systems.
doi:10.1145/2166879.2166880 fatcat:vqn6pw2ugjaizaxdelnf7d4fme