An efficient GPU cache architecture for applications with irregular memory access patterns

Bingchao Li, Jizeng Wei, Jizhou Sun, Murali Annavaram, Nam Sung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

GPUs provide high-bandwidth/low-latency on-chip shared memory and L1 cache to efficiently service a large number of concurrent memory requests. Specifically, concurrent memory requests accessing contiguous memory space are coalesced into warp-wide accesses. To support such large accesses to L1 cache with low latency, the size of L1 cache line is no smaller than that of warp-wide accesses. However, such L1 cache architecture cannot always be efficiently utilized when applications generate many memory requests with irregular access patterns especially due to branch and memory divergences that make requests uncoalesced and small. Furthermore, unlike L1 cache, the shared memory of GPUs is not often used in many applications, which essentially depends on programmers. In this article, we propose Elastic-Cache, which can efficiently support both fine-and coarse-grained L1 cache line management for applications with both regular and irregular memory access patterns to improve the L1 cache efficiency. Specifically, it can store 32-or 64-byte words in non-contiguous memory space to a single 128-byte cache line. Furthermore, it neither requires an extra memory structure nor reduces the capacity of L1 cache for tag storage, since it stores auxiliary tags for fine-grained L1 cache line managements in the shared memory space that is not fully used in many applications. To improve the bandwidth utilization of L1 cache with Elastic-Cache for fine-grained accesses, we further propose Elastic-Plus to issue 32-byte memory requests in parallel, which can reduce the processing latency of memory instructions and improve the throughput of GPUs. Our experiment result shows that Elastic-Cache improves the geometric-mean performance of applications with irregular memory access patterns by 104% without degrading the performance of applications with regular memory access patterns. Elastic-Plus outperforms Elastic-Cache and improves the performance of applications with irregular memory access patterns by 131%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Cache
  • GPU
  • Shared memory
  • Thread

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture

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