Clever Caches Improve Computer Chip Performance
Computer chips keep getting faster because transistors keep getting smaller. But the chips themselves are as big as ever, so data moving around the chip, and between chips and main memory, has to travel just as far. As transistors get faster, the cost of moving data becomes, proportionally, a more severe limitation.
So far, chip designers have circumvented that limitation through the use of caches — small memory banks close to processors that store frequently used data. But the number of processors — or cores — per chip is also increasing, which makes cache management more difficult. Moreover, as cores proliferate, they have to share data more frequently, so the communication network connecting the cores becomes the site of more frequent logjams, as well. In a pair of recent papers, researchers at MIT and the Univ. of Connecticut have developed a set of new caching strategies for massively multicore chips that, in simulations, significantly improved chip performance while actually reducing energy consumption.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/02/clever-caches-improve-computer-chip-performance