USENIX Annual Technical Conference (NO 98), 1998
General Purpose Operating System Support for Multiple Page Sizes
Narayanan Ganapathy and Curt Schimmel
Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc.
Many commercial microprocessor architectures support translation lookaside
buffer (TLB) entries with multiple page sizes. This support can be used
to substantially reduce the overhead introduced by TLB misses incurred
when the processor runs an application with a large working set. Applications
are currently not able to take advantage of this hardware feature because
most commercial operating systems support only one page size. In this paper
we present a design that provides general purpose operating system support
that allows applications to use multiple page sizes. The paper describes
why providing this support is not as simple as it first seems. If not designed
carefully, adding this support will require significant modifications and
add a lot of overhead to the operating system. The paper shows how our
approach simplifies the design without sacrificing functionality and performance.
In addition, applications need not be modified to make use of this feature.
The design has been implemented on IRIX 6.4 operating system running on
the SGI Origin platform. We include some performance results at the end
to show how our design allows applications to take advantage of large pages
to gain performance improvements.
- View the full text of this paper in
HTML form and
- If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
- To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.