Translation Caching: Skip, Don't Walk (the Page Table)

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Executive Summary

This paper explores the design space of MMU caches that accelerate virtual-to-physical address translation in processor architectures, such as x86-64, that use a radix tree page table. In particular, these caches accelerate the page table walk that occurs after a miss in the Translation Lookaside Buffer. This paper shows that the most effective MMU caches are translation caches, which store partial translations and allow the page walk hardware to skip one or more levels of the page table. In recent years, both AMD and Intel processors have implemented MMU caches. However, their implementations are quite different and represent distinct points in the design space.

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