Software

Understanding POWER Multiprocessors

Date Added: Jun 2011
Format: PDF

Exploiting today's multiprocessors requires high-performance and correct concurrent systems code (optimising compilers, language runtimes, OS kernels, etc.), which in turn requires a good understanding of the observable processor behaviour that can be relied on. Unfortunately this critical hardware/software interface is not at all clear for several current multiprocessors. In this paper, the authors characterise the behaviour of IBM POWER multiprocessors, which have a subtle and highly relaxed memory model (ARM multiprocessors have a very similar architecture in this respect). They have conducted extensive experiments on several generations of processors: POWER G5, 5, 6, and 7.