Software Techniques for
Distributed Shared Memory
by Zoran Radovic
Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science & Technology, No.67
Uppsala University Press
133 pages, Illustrated, 6 ½” x 9 ½”
$39.50 Paper Original
This is a Ph.D. dissertation. In large multiprocessors, the access to shared memory is often nonuniform, and may vary as much as ten times for some distributed shared memory architectures (DSMs). This dissertation identifies another important nonuniform property of DSM systems: nonuniform communication architecture, NUCA. High-end hardware-coherent machines built from large nodes, or from chip multiprocessors, are typical NUCA systems, since they have a lower penalty for reading recently written data from a neighbor’s cache than from a remote cache.
This dissertation identifies node affinity as an important property for scalable general-purpose locks. Several software-based hierarchical lock implementations exploiting NUCAs are presented and evaluated. NUCA-aware locks are shown to be almost twice as efficient for contended critical sections compared to traditional lock implementations.
The shared memory “illusion” provided by some large DSM systems may be implemented using either hardware, software or a combination thereof. A software-based implementation can enable cheap cluster hardware to be used, but typically suffers from poor and unpredictable performance characteristics.
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