UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Exploiting Data Compression for Adaptive Block Placement in Hybrid Caches Kim, Beomjun; Kim, Yongtae; Nair, Prashant J.; Hong, Seokin


STT-RAM (Spin-Transfer Torque Random Access Memory) appears to be a viable alternative to SRAM-based on-chip caches. Due to its high density and low leakage power, STT-RAM can be used to build massive capacity last-level caches (LLC). Unfortunately, STT-RAM has a much longer write latency and a much greater write energy than SRAM. Researchers developed hybrid caches made up of SRAM and STT-RAM regions to cope with these challenges. In order to store as many write-intensive blocks in the SRAM region as possible in hybrid caches, an intelligent block placement policy is essential. This paper proposes an adaptive block placement framework for hybrid caches that incorporates metadata embedding (ADAM). When a cache block is evicted from the LLC, ADAM embeds metadata (i.e., write intensity) into the block. Metadata embedded in the cache block are then extracted and used to determine the block’s write intensity when it is fetched from main memory. Our research demonstrates that ADAM can enhance performance by 26% (on average) when compared to a baseline block placement scheme.

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