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USENIX 2005 Annual Technical Conference, General Track — Abstract

Pp. 323–336 of the Proceedings

CLOCK-Pro: An Effective Improvement of the CLOCK Replacement

Song Jiang, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Feng Chen and Xiaodong Zhang, College of William and Mary


With the ever-growing performance gap between memory systems and disks, and rapidly improving CPU performance, virtual memory (VM) management becomes increasingly important for overall system performance. However, one of its critical components, the page replacement policy, is still dominated by CLOCK, a replacement policy developed almost 40 years ago. While pure LRU has an unaffordable cost in VM, CLOCK simulates the LRU replacement algorithm with a low cost acceptable in VM management. Over the last three decades, the inability of LRU as well as CLOCK to handle weak locality accesses has become increasingly serious, and an effective fix becomes increasingly desirable.

Inspired by our I/O buffer cache replacement algorithm, LIRS, we propose an improved CLOCK replacement policy, called CLOCK-Pro. By additionally keeping track of a limited number of replaced pages, CLOCK-Pro works in a similar fashion as CLOCK with a VM-affordable cost. Furthermore, it brings all the much-needed performance advantages from LIRS into CLOCK. Measurements from an implementation of CLOCK-Pro in Linux Kernel 2.4.21 show that the execution times of some commonly used programs can be reduced by up to 47%.

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