Using a user-level memory thread for correlation prefetching

Yan Solihin, Jaejin Lee, Josep Torrellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper introduces the idea of using a User-Level Memory Thread (ULMT) for correlation prefetching. In this approach, a user thread runs on a general-purpose processor in main memory, either in the memory controller chip or in a DRAM chip. The thread performs correlation prefetching in software, sending the prefetched data into the L2 cache of the main processor. This approach requires minireal hardware beyond the memory processor: the correlation table is a software data structure that resides in main memory, while the main processor only needs a few modifications to its L2 cache so that it can accept incoming prefetches. In addition, the approach has wide usability, as it can effectively prefetch even for irregular applications. Finally, it is very flexible, as the prefetching algorithm can be customized by the user on an application basis. Our simulation results show that, through a new design of the correlation table and prefetching algorithm, our scheme delivers good results. Specifically, nine mostly-irregular applications show an average speedup of 1.32. Furthermore, our scheme works well in combination with a conventional processor-side sequential prefetcher, in which case the average speedup increases to 1.46. Finally, by exploiting the customization of the prefetching algorithm, we increase the average speedup to 1.53.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalConference Proceedings - Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture


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