TitlePhase Aware Warp Scheduling: Mitigating Effects of Phase Behavior in GPGPU Applications
Publication TypeConference Papers
AuthorsAwatramani, M., X. Zhu, J. Zambreno, and D. Rover
Conference NameProceedings of the International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques (PACT)
Date PublishedOctober

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) have been widely adopted as accelerators for high performance computing due to the immense amount of computational throughput they offer over their CPU counterparts. As GPU architectures are optimized for throughput, they execute a large number of SIMD threads (warps) in parallel and use hardware multithreading to hide the pipeline and memory access latencies. While the Two-Level Round Robin (TLRR) and Greedy Then Oldest (GTO) warp scheduling policies have been widely accepted in the academic research community, there is no consensus regarding which policy works best for all applications.

In this paper, we show that the disparity regarding which scheduling policy works better depends on the characteristics of instructions in different regions (phases) of the application. We identify these phases at compile time and design a novel warp scheduling policy that uses information regarding them to make scheduling decisions at runtime. By mitigating the adverse effects of application phase behavior, our policy always performs closer to the better of the two existing policies for each application. We evaluate the performance of the warp schedulers on 35 kernels from the Rodinia and CUDA SDK benchmark suites. For applications that have a better performance with the GTO scheduler, our warp scheduler matches the performance of GTO with 99.2% accuracy and achieves an average speedup of 6.31% over RR. Similarly, for applications that perform better with RR, the performance of our scheduler is within of 98% of RR and achieves an average speedup of 6.65% over GTO.

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