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External Research Office
Investigating the Performance of Hardware Transactions on a Multi-Socket Machine (July 2016)
The introduction of hardware transactional memory (HTM) into commercial processors opens a door for designing and implementing scalable synchronization mechanisms. One example for such a mechanism is transactional lock elision (TLE), where lock-based critical sections are executed concurrently using hardware transactions. So far, the effectiveness of TLE and other HTM-based mechanisms has been assessed mostly on small, single-socket machines. This paper investigates the behavior of hardware transactions on a large two-socket machine. Using TLE as an example, we show that a system can scale as long as all threads run on the same socket, but a single thread running on a different socket can wreck performance. We identify the reason for this phenomenon, and present a simple adaptive technique that overcomes this problem by throttling threads as necessary to optimize system performance. Using extensive evaluation of multiple microbenchmarks and real applications, we demonstrate that our technique achieves the full performance of the system for workloads that scale across sockets, and avoids the performance degradation that cripples TLE for workloads that do not.
Trevor Brown, Alex Kogan, Victor Luchangco, Yossi Lev
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