Counter Inspection Toolkit: Making Sense out of Hardware Performance Events

TitleCounter Inspection Toolkit: Making Sense out of Hardware Performance Events
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDanalis, A., H. Jagode, H. Hanumantharayappa, S. Ragate, and J. Dongarra
Conference Name11th International Workshop on Parallel Tools for High Performance Computing
Date Published2019-02
PublisherCham, Switzerland: Springer
Conference LocationDresden, Germany

Hardware counters play an essential role in understanding the behavior of performance-critical applications, and inform any effort to identify opportunities for performance optimization. However, because modern hardware is becoming increasingly complex, the number of counters that are offered by the vendors increases and, in some cases, so does their complexity. In this paper we present a toolkit that aims to assist application developers invested in performance analysis by automatically categorizing and disambiguating performance counters. We present and discuss the set of microbenchmarks and analyses that we developed as part of our toolkit. We explain why they work and discuss the non-obvious reasons why some of our early benchmarks and analyses did not work in an effort to share with the rest of the community the wisdom we acquired from negative results.

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