On generating set index functions for randomized caches

Hans Vandierendonck, K. De Bosschere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Caches hide the growing latency of accesses to the main memory from the processor by storing the most recently used data on-chip. To limit the search time through the caches, they are organized in a direct mapped or set-associative way. Such an organization introduces many conflict misses that hamper performance. This paper studies randomizing set index functions, a technique to place the data in the cache in such a way that conflict misses are avoided. The performance of such a randomized cache strongly depends on the randomization function. This paper discusses a methodology to generate randomization functions that perform well over a broad range of benchmarks. The methodology uses profiling information to predict the conflict miss rate of randomization functions. Then, using this information, a search algorithm finds the best randomization function. Due to implementation issues, it is preferable to use a randomization function that is extremely simple and can be evaluated in little time. For these reasons, we use randomization functions where each randomized address bit is computed as the XOR of a subset of the original address bits. These functions are chosen such that they operate on as few address bits as possible and have few inputs to each XOR. This paper shows that to index a 2(m)-set cache, it suffices to randomize m+2 or m+3 address bits and to limit the number of inputs to each XOR to 2 bits to obtain the full potential of randomization. Furthermore, it is shown that the randomization function that we generate for one set of benchmarks also works well for an entirely different set of benchmarks. Using the described methodology, it is possible to reduce the implementation cost of randomization functions with only an insignificant loss in conflict reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-258
Number of pages14
JournalThe Computer Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems
  • Software

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