Chameleon: Virtualizing idle acceleration cores of a heterogeneous multicore processor for caching and prefetching

Dong Hyuk Woo, Joshua B. Fryman, Allan D. Knies, Hsien-Hsin S. Lee
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO), Volume 7 Issue 1, April 2010


   title={Chameleon: Virtualizing idle acceleration cores of a heterogeneous multicore processor for caching and prefetching},

   author={Woo, D.H. and Fryman, J.B. and Knies, A.D. and Lee, H.H.S.},

   journal={ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO)},







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Heterogeneous multicore processors have emerged as an energy- and area-efficient architectural solution to improving performance for domain-specific applications such as those with a plethora of data-level parallelism. These processors typically contain a large number of small, compute-centric cores for acceleration while keeping one or two high-performance ILP cores on the die to guarantee single-thread performance. Although a major portion of the transistors are occupied by the acceleration cores, these resources will sit idle when running unparallelized legacy codes or the sequential part of an application. To address this underutilization issue, in this article, we introduce Chameleon, a flexible heterogeneous multicore architecture to virtualize these resources for enhancing memory performance when running sequential programs. The Chameleon architecture can dynamically virtualize the idle acceleration cores into a last-level cache, a data prefetcher, or a hybrid between these two techniques. In addition, Chameleon can operate in an adaptive mode that dynamically configures the acceleration cores between the hybrid mode and the prefetch-only mode by monitoring the effectiveness of the Chameleon cache mode. In our evaluation with SPEC2006 benchmark suite, different levels of performance improvements were achieved in different modes for different applications. In the case of the adaptive mode, Chameleon improves the performance of SPECint06 and SPECfp06 by 31% and 15%, on average. When considering only memory-intensive applications, Chameleon improves the system performance by 50% and 26% for SPECint06 and SPECfp06, respectively.
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