SAFARI Live Seminar: Geraldo F. Oliveira 22 July 2021

We are pleased to have Geraldo F. Oliveira give a 3rd talk in our SAFARI Live Seminars!

Thursday, July 22 at 5:00 pm Zurich time (CEST)

DAMOV: A New Methodology and Benchmark Suite for Evaluating Data Movement Bottlenecks
Geraldo F. Oliveira, SAFARI Research Group, D-ITET, ETH Zurich

Livestream at 5:00 pm Zurich time (CEST) on YouTube:


Data movement between the CPU and main memory is a first-order obstacle against improving performance, scalability, and energy efficiency in modern systems. Computer systems employ different techniques to reduce overheads caused by data movement, from traditional processor-centric mechanisms (e.g., deep multi-level cache hierarchies, aggressive hardware prefetchers) to emerging paradigms, such as near-data processing (NDP), where computation is moved closer to or inside memory. However, there is a lack of understanding about (1) the key metrics that identify different sources of data movement bottlenecks and (2) how different data movement bottlenecks can be alleviated by traditional and emerging data movement mitigation mechanisms.

In this work, we make two key contributions. First, we propose the first methodology to characterize data-intensive workloads based on the source of their data movement bottlenecks. This methodology is driven by insights obtained from a large-scale experimental characterization of 345 applications from 37 different benchmark suites and an evaluation of the performance of memory-bound functions from these applications with three data-movement mitigation mechanisms. Second, we release DAMOV, the first open-source benchmark suite for main memory data movement-related studies, based on our systematic characterization methodology. This suite consists of 144 functions representing different sources of data movement bottlenecks and can be used as a baseline benchmark set for future data-movement mitigation research. We show how DAMOV can aid the study of open research problems for NDP architectures via four case studies.

Our work provides new insights about the suitability of different classes of data movement bottlenecks to the different data movement mitigation mechanisms, including analyses on how the different data movement mitigation mechanisms impact performance and energy for memory bottlenecked applications. All our bottleneck analysis toolchains and DAMOV benchmarks are publicly and freely available ( We believe and hope that our work can enable further studies and research on hardware and software solutions for data movement bottlenecks, including near-data processing.

Speaker Bio:
Geraldo F. Oliveira is a Ph.D. student in the SAFARI Research Group @ETH Zurich. He received a B.S. degree in computer science from the Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil, in 2015, and an M.S. degree in computer science from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2017. Since 2018, he has been working toward a Ph.D. degree with Onur Mutlu at ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. His current research interests include system support for processing-in-memory and processing-using-memory architectures, data-centric accelerators for emerging applications, approximate computing, and emerging memory systems for consumer devices. He has several publications on these topics.

SAFARI Live Seminar: Andrew Walker 19 July 2021

We are excited to have Andrew Walker as a speaker in July for our SAFARI Live Seminars!

Monday, July 19 at 6:00 pm Zurich time (CEST)

Andrew Walker, Schiltron Corporation & Nexgen Power Systems
An Addiction to Low Cost Per Memory Bit – How to Recognize it and What to Do About it

Livestream at 6:00 pm Zurich time (CEST) on YouTube:

Talk slides (pdf) (pptx)

The phenomenal rise in the amounts of data has put great pressure on the semiconductor industry to provide low cost memory solutions. The result is a constant drive to lower the cost per bit of DRAM, SRAM and NAND Flash. In addition, AI requires intense store and recall between processor and memory. In the rush to provide low cost solutions, other attributes have been treated as expendable as an acceptable cost of doing business. Several examples come to mind: short product lifetimes because of limited NAND Flash endurance; data insecurity because of DRAM Rowhammer; poor energy efficiency because of the need to bring growing amounts of data from DRAM into the processor chip due to SRAM area inefficiencies. All such “negative externalities” have a cost that is not included in the product cost but affects society in terms of wasted energy and resources. This talk looks into their origins and consequences and is a call to action for a more comprehensive understanding of what cost per bit really means.

Speaker Bio:
Andy Walker has been working in silicon technology since 1985. After a BSc in physics from Dundee University in Scotland he joined Philips Research Laboratory in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. His PhD from the Technical University of Eindhoven arose from his research work at Philips. In 1994 he came to Silicon Valley and worked at various companies including Cypress, Matrix and Spin Memory. He also founded Schiltron Corporation to develop new forms of monolithic memories. He has been fortunate in being able to work in many interesting areas of silicon devices and process technology including MOS device physics, nonvolatile memories, ESD and Latch-up, TFTs and MRAM. He is now active in the area of GaN high voltage devices.