With the massive multithreading execution feature, graphics processing units (GPUs) have been widely deployed to accelerate general-purpose parallel workloads (GPGPUs). However, using GPUs to accelerate computation does not always gain good performance improvement. This is mainly due to three inefficiencies in modern GPU and system architectures.
First, not all parallel threads have a uniform amount of workload to fully utilize GPU’s computation ability, leading to a sub-optimal performance problem, called warp criticality. To mitigate the degree of warp criticality, I propose a Criticality-Aware Warp Acceleration mechanism, called CAWA. CAWA predicts and accelerates the critical warp execution by allocating larger execution time slices and additional cache resources to the critical warp. The evaluation result shows that with CAWA, GPUs can achieve an average of 1.23x speedup.
Second, the shared cache storage in GPUs is often insufficient to accommodate demands of the large number of concurrent threads. As a result, cache thrashing is commonly experienced in GPU’s cache memories, particularly in the L1 data caches. To alleviate the cache contention and thrashing problem, I develop an instruction aware Control Loop Based Adaptive Bypassing algorithm, called Ctrl-C. Ctrl-C learns the cache reuse behavior and bypasses a portion of memory requests with the help of feedback control loops. The evaluation result shows that Ctrl-C can effectively improve cache utilization in GPUs and achieve an average of 1.42x speedup for cache sensitive GPGPU workloads.
Finally, GPU workloads and the co-located processes running on the host chip multiprocessor (CMP) in a heterogeneous system setup can contend for memory resources in multiple levels, resulting in significant performance degradation. To maximize the system throughput and balance the performance degradation of all co-located applications, I design a scalable performance degradation predictor specifically for heterogeneous systems, called HeteroPDP. HeteroPDP predicts the application execution time and schedules OpenCL workloads to run on different devices based on the optimization goal. The evaluation result shows HeteroPDP can improve the system fairness from 24% to 65% when an OpenCL application is co-located with other processes, and gain an additional 50% speedup compared with always offloading the OpenCL workload to GPUs.
In summary, this dissertation aims to provide insights for the future microarchitecture and system architecture designs by identifying, analyzing, and addressing three critical performance problems in modern GPUs.