Deterministic Memory Abstraction and Supporting Multicore System Architecture

Authors Farzad Farshchi, Prathap Kumar Valsan, Renato Mancuso, Heechul Yun

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Author Details

Farzad Farshchi
  • University of Kansas, USA
Prathap Kumar Valsan
  • Intel, USA
Renato Mancuso
  • Boston University, USA
Heechul Yun
  • University of Kansas, USA

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Farzad Farshchi, Prathap Kumar Valsan, Renato Mancuso, and Heechul Yun. Deterministic Memory Abstraction and Supporting Multicore System Architecture. In 30th Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 106, pp. 1:1-1:25, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


Poor time predictability of multicore processors has been a long-standing challenge in the real-time systems community. In this paper, we make a case that a fundamental problem that prevents efficient and predictable real-time computing on multicore is the lack of a proper memory abstraction to express memory criticality, which cuts across various layers of the system: the application, OS, and hardware. We, therefore, propose a new holistic resource management approach driven by a new memory abstraction, which we call Deterministic Memory. The key characteristic of deterministic memory is that the platform-the OS and hardware-guarantees small and tightly bounded worst-case memory access timing. In contrast, we call the conventional memory abstraction as best-effort memory in which only highly pessimistic worst-case bounds can be achieved. We propose to utilize both abstractions to achieve high time predictability but without significantly sacrificing performance. We present deterministic memory-aware OS and architecture designs, including OS-level page allocator, hardware-level cache, and DRAM controller designs. We implement the proposed OS and architecture extensions on Linux and gem5 simulator. Our evaluation results, using a set of synthetic and real-world benchmarks, demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of our approach.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computer systems organization → Real-time systems
  • multicore processors
  • real-time
  • shared cache
  • DRAM controller
  • Linux


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