Reducing Misspeculation Overhead for Module-Level Speculative Execution
Authors: Fredrik Warg and Per Stenström

Thread-level speculative execution is a technique that makes it possible for a wider range of single-threaded applications to make use of the processing resources in a chip multiprocessor.

We consider module-level speculation, i.e., speculative threads executing the code after a module (i.e., a procedure, function, or method) call. Unfortunately, previous studies have shown that indiscriminate module-level speculation results in significant overheads, mainly due to frequent misspeculations. In addition to hurting performance, excessive overhead is harmful from a resource usage and energy efficiency standpoint. We show that the overhead when spawning speculative threads for all module continuations is on average three times as big as the time spent on useful execution on our baseline 8-way chip multiprocessor.

In this paper, we present and make a detailed evaluation of a technique that aims at reducing the overhead associated with misspeculations. History-based prediction is used in an attempt to prevent speculative threads from being spawned when they are expected to cause misspeculations. We find that the overhead can be reduced with a factor of six on average compared to indiscriminate speculation. The impact on speedup is small for most applications, but in several cases speedup is slightly improved.

Keywords: Multiprocessors, chip-multiprocessors, thread-level speculation, module-level parallelism, misspeculation prediction, performance evaluation.
Fulltext: pdf
Published: Proceedings of the 2005 ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers (CF 2005), pp 289-298, ACM Press, May 2005.
DOI: 10.1145/1062261.1062310
Presentation: pdf

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