Caches As Filters: A Unifying Model for Memory Hierarchy Analysis

D.A.B. Weikle, K. Skadron, S.A. McKee, and W.A. Wulf.
Tech Report CS-2000-16, Univ. of Virginia Dept. of Computer Science, June, 2000.

This paper outlines the new caches-as-filters framework for the analysis of caching systems, describing the functional filter model in detail. This model is more general than those introduced previously, allowing designers and compiler writers to understand why a cache exhibits a particular behavior, and in some cases indicating what compiler or hardware techniques must be employed to improve a cache hierarchy's performance. Three components of the framework, the trace-specification notation, equivalence class concept, and new measures of cache performance, are described in previous publications. This paper extends the framework with a formal definition of the functional filter model and augments the trace-specification notation with additional constructs to describe conditionals and the effects of cache filtering. We then give detailed examples demonstrating the application of the model to a set of examples of a copy kernel, where each example represents a different equivalence class of traces.

Available in postscript