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Jaehyun Han and Donald Porter
May 16, 2024

A paper co-authored by four UNC Computer Science researchers has been recognized as one of the IEEE Micro Top Picks from computer architecture conferences in 2023.

The IEEE Micro Special Issue on Top Picks recognizes the most significant research outcomes in computer architecture each year in terms of novelty and potential for long-term impact. For 2023, the journal reviewed 119 papers and selected 12 for recognition.

One selection, “Mosaic Pages: Big TLB Reach with Small Pages,” was authored by Krishnan Gosakan, Jaehyun Han, William Kuszmaul, Ibrahim Nael Mubarek, Nirjhar Mukherjee, Karthik Sriram, Guido Tagliavini, Evan West, Michael Bender, Abhishek Bhattacharjee, Alex Conway, Martin Farach-Colton, Jayneel Gandhi, Rob Johnson, Sudarsun Kannan, and Donald Porter, with Gosakan and Han providing equal contribution as co-first authors.

Han is a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science advised by Porter, a professor in the department. Mubarek and Mukherjee began work on the project as undergraduate students before going on to graduate programs at Carnegie Mellon University.

In addition, the collaboration included personnel from Rutgers University (Gosakan, Tagliavini, Farach-Colton, and Kannan), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Kuszmaul), Yale University (Sriram and Bhattacharjee), Stony Brook University (West and Bender), VMware Research (Conway and Johnson), and Meta (Gandhi).

In the paper, the authors address the issue of the translation lookaside buffer (TLB) on CPUs causing a bottleneck for applications operating on large datasets. The paper introduced mosaic pages, which increase TLB reach by compressing multiple, discrete translations into one TLB entry, allowing for more efficiency and flexibility. The result was a reduction of TLB misses by up to 81 percent, with the new approach unlikely to negatively affect clock frequency.

“Mosaic Pages” received a Distinguished Paper award when it was presented at the International Conference on Architectural Support for Operating Systems and Programming Languages (ASPLOS) in March 2023.

Porter was proud of the paper and the new opportunities it enabled. The project represented a promising step toward dialing in precisely how much flexibility is needed to get good performance, thereby giving hardware architects more freedom in the design stages.

The full paper can be read online.

Porter leads the Operating systems, Security, Concurrency, and Architecture Research (OSCAR) Lab at UNC. His research develops better abstractions for managing concurrency and security, primarily in the operating system, and extends these abstractions to other portions of the technology stack as appropriate.