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Using Performance Cloning to Improve Memory Designs

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 02:14PM

We are always on the lookout for the best hardware, so naturally manufacturers are doing what they can to claim that title. One way to help achieve that is to optimize the designs for the software the hardware will be running. The catch is that sometimes that software is not available to the manufacturers, but researchers at North Carolina State University have developed performance cloning systems to help out.

Performance cloning builds a profile of how a program performs that can then help direct hardware optimization. This is important if the software in question is proprietary, like that used by several large corporations and Wall Street firms, because the software itself need not be shared with the manufacturer. Performance cloning has been used before for optimizing CPU design, but this new work focuses instead on memory systems. The researchers developed two techniques called MEMST (Memory Emulation using Stochastic Traces) and MeToo. MEMST looks at how much memory is used by a program, where that data is stored, and its retrieval pattern. MeToo analyzes memory timing behavior, profiling how often data is retrieved and if there are periods of rapid memory requests.

Potentially this work could lead to improvements with DRAM, memory controllers, and memory buses. The next step for MEMST and MeToo is to develop an integrated program, which also includes the researchers' work on cache memory, and commercializing it.

Source: North Carolina State University

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