The System-on-a-Chip Lock Cache
Akgul, Bilge Ebru Saglam
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In this dissertation, we implement efficient lock-based synchronization by a novel, high performance, simple and scalable hardware technique and associated software for a target shared-memory multiprocessor System-on-a-Chip (SoC). The custom hardware part of our solution is provided in the form of an intellectual property (IP) hardware unit which we call the SoC Lock Cache (SoCLC). SoCLC provides effective lock hand-off by reducing on-chip memory traffic and improving performance in terms of lock latency, lock delay and bandwidth consumption. The proposed solution is independent from the memory hierarchy, cache protocol and the processor architectures used in the SoC, which enables easily applicable implementations of the SoCLC (e.g., as a reconfigurable or partially/fully custom logic), and which distinguishes SoCLC from previous approaches. Furthermore, the SoCLC mechanism has been extended to support priority inheritance with an immediate priority ceiling protocol (IPCP) implemented in hardware, which enhances the hard real-time performance of the system. Our experimental results in a four-processor SoC indicate that SoCLC can achieve up to 37% overall speedup over spin-lock and up to 48% overall speedup over MCS for a microbenchmark with false sharing. The priority inheritance implemented as part of the SoCLC hardware, on the other hand, achieves 1.43X speedup in overall execution time of a robot application when compared to the priority inheritance implementation under the Atalanta real-time operating system. Furthermore, it has been shown that with the IPCP mechanism integrated into the SoCLC, all of the tasks of the robot application could meet their deadlines (e.g., a high priority task with 250us worst case response time could complete its execution in 93us with SoCLC, however the same task missed its deadline by completing its execution in 283us without SoCLC). Therefore, with IPCP support, our solution can provide better real-time guarantees for real-time systems. To automate SoCLC design, we have also developed an SoCLC-generator tool, PARLAK, that generates user specified configurations of a custom SoCLC. We used PARLAK to generate SoCLCs from a version for two processors with 32 lock variables occupying 2,520 gates up to a version for fourteen processors with 256 lock variables occupying 78,240 gates.