Report Number: CS-TR-94-1506
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Optimized Memory-Based Messaging: Leveraging the Memory System for High-Performance Communication
Author: Cheriton, David R.
Author: Kutter, Robert A.
Date: February 1994
Abstract: Memory-based messaging, passing messages between programs using shared memory, is a recognized technique for efficient communication that takes advantage of memory system performance. However, the conventional operating system support for this approach is inefficient, especially for large-scale multiprocessor interconnects, and is too complex to effectively support in hardware. This paper describes hardware and software optimizations for memory-based messaging that efficiently exploit the mechanisms of the memory system to provide superior communication performance. We describe the overall model of optimized memory-based messaging, its implementation in an operating system kernel and hardware support for this approach in a scalable multiprocessor architecture. The optimizations include address-valued signals, message-oriented memory consistency and automatic signaling on write. Performance evaluations show these extensions provide a three-to-five-fold improvement in communication performance over a comparable software-only implementation.