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Title: Indexed dependence metadata and its applications in software performance optimisation
Author: Howes, L. W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 9132
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2010
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To achieve continued performance improvements, modern microprocessor design is tending to concentrate an increasing proportion of hardware on computation units with less automatic management of data movement and extraction of parallelism. As a result, architectures increasingly include multiple computation cores and complicated, software-managed memory hierarchies. Compilers have difficulty characterizing the behaviour of a kernel in a general enough manner to enable automatic generation of efficient code in any but the most straightforward of cases. We propose the concept of indexed dependence metadata to improve application development and mapping onto such architectures. The metadata represent both the iteration space of a kernel and the mapping of that iteration space from a given index to the set of data elements that iteration might use: thus the dependence metadata is indexed by the kernel’s iteration space. This explicit mapping allows the compiler or runtime to optimise the program more efficiently, and improves the program structure for the developer. We argue that this form of explicit interface specification reduces the need for premature, architecture-specific optimisation. It improves program portability, supports intercomponent optimisation and enables generation of efficient data movement code. We offer the following contributions: an introduction to the concept of indexed dependence metadata as a generalisation of stream programming, a demonstration of its advantages in a component programming system, the decoupled access/execute model for C++ programs, and how indexed dependence metadata might be used to improve the programming model for GPU-based designs. Our experimental results with prototype implementations show that indexed dependence metadata supports automatic synthesis of double-buffered data movement for the Cell processor and enables aggressive loop fusion optimisations in image processing, linear algebra and multigrid application case studies.
Supervisor: Field, Anthony Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral