Efficiency of Thread-Level Speculation in SMT and CMP Architectures - Performance, Power and Thermal Perspective

Date of Submission: 
June 13, 2008
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Computer industry has adopted multi-threaded and multi-core architectures as the clock rate increase stalled in early 2000.s. However, because of the lack of compilers and other related software technologies, most of the general-purpose applications today still cannot take advantage of such architectures to improve their performance. Thread-level speculation (TLS) has been proposed as a way of using these multi-threaded architectures to parallelize general-purpose applications. Both simultaneous multithreading (SMT) and chip multiprocessors (CMP) have been extended to implement TLS. While the characteristics of SMT and CMP have been widely studied under multi-programmed and parallel workloads, their behavior under TLS workload is not well understood. TLS workload due to speculative nature of the threads which could potentially be rollbacked and due to variable degree of parallelism available in applications, exhibits unique characteristics which makes it different from other workloads. In this paper, we present a detailed study of the performance, power consumption and thermal effect of these multithreaded architectures against that of a superscalar with equal chip area. A wide spectrum of design choices and tradeoffs are also studied using commonly used simulation techniques. We show that the SMT based TLS architecture performs about 21% better than the best CMP based configuration while it suffers about 16% power overhead. In terms of the Energy-Delay-Squared product, SMT based TLS performs about 26% better than the best CMP based TLS configuration and 11% better than the superscalar architecture. But the SMT based TLS configuration, causes more thermal stress than the CMP based TLS architectures.