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BACTAC - Cooksey

Content-Based Prefetching
Robert Cooksey
Grad Student, Department of Computer Science

Memory prefetching attempts to reduce the memory latency by moving data from memory closer to the processor. Different prefetching mechanisms attempt to model access patterns that may be used by programs. For example, a stride or stream prefetcher assumes that programs will access memory in a linear pattern.

This paper explores content-based prefetching, which is an attempt to prefetch "pointer chasing" references. Content-based prefetching works by examining the content of data as it is moved from memory to the caches. Data values that are likely to be addresses are then translated and pushed to a prefetch buffer. Content-based prefetching should be able to prefetch sparse data structures, including graphs, lists and trees. This paper records our early experience with content-based prefetching and the problems that must be overcome for it to be useful.

This is a dry run of a presentation to be given at
the 2nd Workshop on Intelligent Memory Systems
(held in conjunction with ASPLOS).

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:24)