Reconfigurable and Self- Optimizing Multicore Architectures

Dr. Engin Ipek, Researcher in the Computer Architecture group at Microsoft Research

Monday, March 23, 2009
11 a.m.

CSB 209


As industry rides the transistor density growth in multicore processors by providing more and more cores, these will exert increasing levels of pressure on shared system resources. Efficient resource management becomes critical to obtaining high utilization, and eliminating potential bandwdith, latency, and cost barriers in multicore systems. Unfortunately, current hardware policies for microarchitectural resource management are ad hoc at best, and are generally incapable of providing basic functionalities like anticipating the long-term consequences of scheduling decisions (planning), or generalizing from experience obtained through past resource allocation decisions to act successfully in new situations (learning). As a result, current hardware controllers tend to grossly underutilize the (already limited) platform resources available. In this talk, using the problem of memory scheduling as context, I will describe the use of machine learning (ML) technology in designing self-optimizing, adaptive hardware agents capable of planning, learning, and continuously adapting to changing workload demands. An ML-based design approach allows the hardware designer to focus on what performance target the controller should accomplish and what system variables might be useful to ultimately derive a good control policy, rather than devising a fixed policy that describes exactly how the controller should accomplish that target. This not only eliminates much of the human design effort involved in traditional controller design, but also yields higher-performing, more efficient controllers.

This work was completed as part of Engin Ipek's Ph.D. thesis at Cornell's Computer Systems Laboratory. It has been nominated for the 2008 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award by Cornell University.  

Speaker Biography

Engin Ipek is a researcher in the Computer Architecture group at Microsoft Research. He earned his Ph.D. (2008), M.S. (2007), and B.S. (2003) degrees from Cornell University, all in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests are in computer architecture, with an emphasis on multicore architectures, hardware-software interaction, and the application of machine learning to computer systems. He is a member of the ACM and the IEEE.