Cache-conscious structure layout

Trishul M. Chilimbi, Mark D. Hill, James R. Larus
1999 SIGPLAN notices  
Hardware trends have produced an increasing disparity between processor speeds and memory access times. While a variety of techniques for tolerating or reducing memory latency have been proposed, these are rarely successful for pointer-manipulating programs. This paper explores a complementary approach that attacks the source (poor reference locality) of the problem rather than its manifestation (memory latency). It demonstrates that careful data organization and layout provides an essential
more » ... hanism to improve the cache locality of pointer-manipulating programs and consequently, their performance. It explores two placement technique-lustering and colorinet improve cache performance by increasing a pointer structure's spatial and temporal locality, and by reducing cache-conflicts. To reduce the cost of applying these techniques, this paper discusses two strategies-cache-conscious reorganization and cacheconscious allocation--and describes two semi-automatic toolsccmorph and ccmalloc-that use these strategies to produce cache-conscious pointer structure layouts. ccmorph is a transparent tree reorganizer that utilizes topology information to cluster and color the structure. ccmalloc is a cache-conscious heap allocator that attempts to co-locate contemporaneously accessed data elements in the same physical cache block. Our evaluations, with microbenchmarks, several small benchmarks, and a couple of large real-world applications, demonstrate that the cache-conscious structure layouts produced by ccmorph and ccmalloc offer large performance benefit-n most cases, significantly outperforming state-of-the-art prefetching.
doi:10.1145/301631.301633 fatcat:gzbvmob3frhpzkdp2k3rvo3bxm