CASHT: Contention Analysis in Shared Hierarchies with Thefts

Cesar Gomes
Maziar Amiraski
Mark Hempstead

ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization 19, 1, Article 12 (March 2022), 27 pages. DOI:


Cache management policies should consider workloads’ contention behavior when managing a shared cache. Prior art makes estimates about shared cache behavior by adding extra logic or time to isolate per workload cache statistics. These approaches provide per-workload analysis but do not provide a holistic understanding of the utilization and effectiveness of caches under the ever-growing contention that comes standard with scaling cores. We present Contention Analysis in Shared Hierarchies using Thefts, or CASHT,1 a framework for capturing cache contention information both offline and online. CASHT takes advantage of cache statistics made richer by observing a consequence of cache contention: inter-core evictions, or what we call THEFTS. We use thefts to complement more familiar cache statistics to train a learning model based on Gradient-boosting Trees (GBT) to predict the best ways to partition the last-level cache. GBT achieves 90+% accuracy with trained models as small as 100 B and at least 95% accuracy at 1 kB model size when predicting the best way to partition two workloads. CASHT employs a novel run-time framework for collecting thefts-based metrics despite partition intervention, and enables per-access sampling rather than set sampling that could add overhead but may not capture true workload behavior. Coupling CASHT and GBT for use as a dynamic policy results in a very lightweight and dynamic partitioning scheme that performs within a margin of error of Utility-based Cache Partitioning at a 1/8 the overhead.