Performance Evaluation and Feasibility Study of Near-data Processing on DRAM Modules (DIMM-NDP) for Scientific Applications

Abstract : As the performance of DRAM devices falls more and more behind computing capabilities, the limitations of the memory and power walls are imminent. We propose a practical Near-Data Processing (NDP) architecture DIMM-NDP for mitigating the effects of the memory wall in the nearer-term targeting server applications for scientific computing. DIMM-NDP exploits existing but unused DRAM bandwidth on memory modules (DIMMs) and takes advantage of a subset of the forthcoming JEDEC NVDIMM-P protocol in order to integrate application-specific, programmable functionality near memory. DIMM-NDP works on shared memory with the host CPU by definition, takes advantage of abundant memory capacity in the main memory subsystem and remains economic by relying on standard, unmodified DRAM devices. We evaluate DIMM-NDP with a range of bandwidth, latency and compute-bound workloads from the domains of predictive data analytics and machine learning that depend on dense and sparse linear algebra. Simulation results show up to 6.3x better performance for bandwidth-limited applications, representing 79% of the theoretical peak, and up to 3x improved energy efficiency. We complement the evaluation with feasibility checks for DIMM-like form factors to offer 32GB to 128GB capacity per DIMM, hardware overhead costs (below 20%), and power envelopes for standard (13W) and custom DIMMs (40W). A sensitivity analysis of interface properties for comparison with traditional accelerator coupling over PCIe, as well as a case study on porting software kernels, showing in the order of one month programming effort per application, outline reasonable operating points for DIMM-NDP.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02100477
Contributor : Matthias Gries <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:14:08 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 1:21:04 AM

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Matthias Gries, Pau Cabré, Julio Gago. Performance Evaluation and Feasibility Study of Near-data Processing on DRAM Modules (DIMM-NDP) for Scientific Applications. [Technical Report] Huawei Technologies Duesseldorf GmbH, Munich Research Center (MRC). 2019. ⟨hal-02100477⟩

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