HyperLink   The Susceptibility of Programs to Context Switching Effects.
Publication Year:
  Wen-mei Hwu, Thomas M. Conte
  IEEE Transactions on Computers, Vol. 43, No. 9, Sept. 1994

Modern memory systems are composed of several levels of caching. Design of these levels is largely an empirical practice. One highly-effective empirical method is the single-pass method wherein all caches in a broad design space are evaluated in one pass over the trace. Multiprogramming degrades memory system performance since (process) context switching reduces the effectiveness of cache memories. Few single-pass methods exist which account for multiprogramming effects. This paper uses a general model of single-pass algorithms, called the recurrence/conflict model, and extensions to the model for recording the effects due to both voluntary and involuntary context switching.

The method presented in this paper accurately records a program's susceptibility to context switching for all cache dimensions and all context switching intensities in a single pass. System load is parameterized using context switch intensity and the fraction of cache flushing. Several members of the SPEC benchmark set are used to comment on program susceptibility to context switching. The accuracy of the method is shown to be quite good by comparing it with two more-restrictive test methods. The results also agree well with multiprogramming effects reported by others.