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Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:31:07 -0500
From: Bill Cox <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] optimizing memory access speed

This is fantastic!  Thanks for the very helpful links.  Maybe a bit off
topic, but it kills me how we still use 1960's memory layout which thrashes
the cache.  When I write CPU intensive code, like IC place and route, I
still refuse to use C structs or C++ classes, due to the style of memory
layout, which insures that for the 1 or 2 fields of an object I need in an
inner loop, I load a full cache line into cache, replacing data that may
have been useful.  Instead, I use a code generator for data structures
called DataDraw, which organizes fields in arrays, unless "cache together"
clauses are used, which cause only specific fields to be included together
in a struct.  This memory layout makes walking huge grid-based graphs 6X
faster in my old benchmarks.  For typical EDA applications, the improvement
is about a 1.6X speedup on average (I can generate either struct-based or
array-based data structures for comparison).  Most people today don't
realize that for memory intensive tasks, speed is all about optimizing
cache performance.

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