Software Techniques for Distributed Shared Memory

In large multiprocessors, the access to shared memory is often nonuniform, and may vary as much as ten times for some distributed shared-memory architectures (DSMs). This dissertation identifies another important nonuniform property of DSM systems: nonuniform communication architecture, NUCA. High-end hardware-coherent machines built from large nodes, or from chip multiprocessors, are typical NUCA systems, since they have a lower penalty for reading recently written data from a neighbor’s cache than from a remote cache. This dissertation identifies node affinity as an important property for scalable general-purpose locks. Several software-based hierarchical lock implementations exploiting NUCAs are presented and evaluated. NUCA-aware locks are shown to be almost twice as efficient for contended critical sections compared to traditional lock implementations.The shared-memory “illusion”’ provided by some large DSM systems may be implemented using either hardware, software or a combination thereof. A software-based implementation can enable cheap cluster hardware to be used, but typically suffers from poor and unpredictable performance characteristics.This dissertation advocates a new software-hardware trade-off design point based on a new combination of techniques. The two low-level techniques, fine-grain deterministic coherence and synchronous protocol execution, as well as profile-guided protocol flexibility, are evaluated in isolation as well as in a combined setting using all-software implementations. Finally, a minimum of hardware trap support is suggested to further improve the performance of coherence protocols across cluster nodes. It is shown that all these techniques combined could result in a fairly stable performance on par with hardware-based coherence.

Author: Radovic, Zoran

Source: Uppsala University Library

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