Multicore Performance Optimization Using Partner Cores

Unknown author (2011-03-25)

As the push for parallelism continues to increase the number of cores on a chip, and add to the complexity of system design, the task of optimizing performance at the application level becomes nearly impossible for the programmer. Much effort has been spent on developing techniques for optimizing performance at runtime, but many techniques for modern processors employ the use of speculative threads or performance counters. These approaches result in stolen cycles, or the use of an extra core, and such expensive penalties put demanding constraints on the gains provided by such methods. While processors have grown in power and complexity, the technology for small, efficient cores has emerged. We introduce the concept of Partner Cores for maximizing hardware power efficiency; these are low-area, low-power cores situated on-die, tightly coupled to each main processor core. We demonstrate that such cores enable performance improvement without incurring expensive penalties, and carry out potential applications that are impossible on a traditional chip multiprocessor.