Computer Science Thesis Oral

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Traffic21 Classroom 6501 Gates & Hillman Centers



Although compression has been widely used for decades to reduce file sizes (thereby conserving storage capacity and network bandwidth when transferring files), there has been little to no use of compression within modern memory hierarchies. Why not? Especially as programs become increasingly data-intensive, the capacity and bandwidth within the memory hierarchy (including caches, main memory, and their associated interconnects) are becoming increasingly important bottlenecks. If data compression could be applied successfully to the memory hierarchy, it could potentially relieve pressure on these bottlenecks by increasing effective capacity, increasing effective bandwidth, and even reducing energy consumption. In this thesis, I describe a new, practical approach to integrating data compression within the memory hierarchy, including on-chip caches, main memory, and both on-chip and off-chip interconnects. This new approach is fast, simple, and effective in saving storage space. A key insight in our approach is that access time (including decompression latency) is critical in modern memory hierarchies. By combining inexpensive hardware support with modest OS support, our holistic approach to compression achieves substantial improvements in performance and energy efficiency across the memory hierarchy. In addition to exploring compression-related issues and enabling practical solutions in modern CPU systems, we discover new problems in realizing hardware-based compression for GPU-based systems and develop new solutions to solve these problems. Thesis Committee: Todd C. Mowry (Co-Chair) Onur Mutlu (Co-Chair) Kayvon Fatahalian David A. Wood (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Douglas C. Burger (Microsoft) Michael A. Kozuch (Intel)

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Thesis Oral