New paper on heterogeneous-ISA multi-cores to appear at ISCA 2020

Our new paper, which proposes a lightweight method for migrating threads in heterogeneous-ISA multi-core systems, has been accepted to appear at ISCA 2020.

This paper, “Flick: Fast and Lightweight ISA-Crossing Call for Heterogeneous-ISA Environments,” was co-authored with Stony Brook PhD students Shenghsun Cho, Han Chen and Sergey Madaminov and Prof. Mike Ferdman.

Abstract: Heterogeneous-ISA multi-core systems have performance and power consumption benefits. Today, numerous system components, such as NVRAMs and Smart NICs, already have built-in general purpose cores with ISAs different from that of the host CPUs, effectively making many modern systems heterogeneous-ISA multi-core systems. However, programming and utilizing such systems efficiently is difficult and requires extensive support from the host operating systems. Existing programming solutions are complex, requiring dramatic changes to the systems, often incurring significant performance overheads.

To address this problem, we propose Flick: Fast and Lightweight ISA-Crossing Call, for migrating threads in heterogeneous-ISA multi-core systems. By leveraging hardware virtual memory support and standard operating system mechanisms, a software thread can transparently migrate between cores with different ISAs. We prototype a heterogeneous-ISA multi-core system using FPGAs with off-the-shelf hardware and software to evaluate Flick. Experiments with microbenchmarks and near-data-processing workloads show that Flick requires only minor changes to the existing OS and software, and incurs only 18microsecond round trip overhead for migrating a thread through PCIe, which is at least 23x lower than prior works.

A preprint is available here.


This entry was posted on March 04, 2020.