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FAST '04 — Abstract

Pp. 187-200 of the Proceedings

CAR: Clock with Adaptive Replacement

Sorav Bansal, Stanford University; Dharmendra S. Modha, IBM Almaden Research Center


CLOCK is a classical cache replacement policy dating back to 1968 that was proposed as a low-complexity approximation to LRU. On every cache hit, the policy LRU needs to move the accessed item to the most recently used position, at which point, to ensure consistency and correctness, it serializes cache hits behind a single global lock. CLOCK eliminates this lock contention, and, hence, can support high concurrency and high throughput environments such as virtual memory (for example, Multics, UNIX, BSD, AIX) and databases (for example, DB2). Unfortunately, CLOCK is still plagued by disadvantages of LRU such as disregard for "frequency", susceptibility to scans, and low performance.

As our main contribution, we propose a simple and elegant new algorithm, namely, CLOCK with Adaptive Replacement (CAR), that has several advantages over CLOCK: (i) it is scan-resistant; (ii) it is self-tuning and it adaptively and dynamically captures the "recency" and "frequency" features of a workload; (iii) it uses essentially the same primitives as CLOCK, and, hence, is low-complexity and amenable to a high-concurrency implementation; and (iv) it outperforms CLOCK across a wide-range of cache sizes and workloads. The algorithm CAR is inspired by the Adaptive Replacement Cache (ARC) algorithm, and inherits virtually all advantages of ARC including its high performance, but does not serialize cache hits behind a single global lock. As our second contribution, we introduce another novel algorithm, namely, CAR with Temporal filtering (CART), that has all the advantages of CAR, but, in addition, uses a certain temporal filter to distill pages with long-term utility from those with only short-term utility.

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