Kill the Program Counter Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 ACM. Data prefetching and cache replacement algorithms have been intensively studied in the design of high performance microprocessors. Typically, the data prefetcher operates in the private caches and does not interact with the replacement policy in the shared Last-Level Cache (LLC). Similarly, most replacement policies do not consider demand and prefetch requests as different types of requests. In particular, program counter (PC)-based replacement policies cannot learn from prefetch requests since the data prefetcher does not generate a PC value. PC-based policies can also be negatively affected by compiler optimizations. In this paper, we propose a holistic cache management technique called Kill-the-PC (KPC) that overcomes the weaknesses of traditional prefetching and replacement policy algorithms. KPC cache management has three novel contributions. First, a prefetcher which approximates the future use distance of prefetch requests based on its prediction confidence. Second, a simple replacement policy provides similar or better performance than current state-of-the-art PC-based prediction using global hysteresis. Third, KPC integrates prefetching and replacement policy into a whole system which is greater than the sum of its parts. Information from the prefetcher is used to improve the performance of the replacement policy and vice-versa. Finally, KPC removes the need to propagate the PC through entire on-chip cache hierarchy while providing a holistic cache management approach with better performance than state-of-the-art PC-, and non-PC-based schemes. Our evaluation shows that KPC provides 8% better performance than the best combination of existing prefetcher and replacement policy for multi-core workloads.

published proceedings

  • ACM SIGPLAN Notices

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, J., Teran, E., Gratz, P. V., Jimnez, D. A., Pugsley, S. H., & Wilkerson, C.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Jinchun||Teran, Elvira||Gratz, Paul V||JimĂ©nez, Daniel A||Pugsley, Seth H||Wilkerson, Chris

publication date

  • April 2017