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University of Maryland
Memory-Systems Research: Workloads and Their Characterization

Bruce Jacob - email address -

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Workloads and Their Characterization

We have done a significant amount of workload characterization. For instance, we have characterized the SPEC 2006 benchmark suite; we have characterized a large set of bioinformatics workloads, both sequential and parallel; and we have assembled the bioinformatics suite for public download.

SPEC CPU2006 Memory Characterization

Last-Level Cache Behavior of Bioinformatics Workloads

This paper presents a detailed data-sharing analysis and CMP cache study of several multi-threaded data-mining workloads. We show that bioinformatics workloads exhibit significant data-sharing: 50-95% of the data cache is shared by the different threads of the workloads, and for some workloads nearly all access to the last-level cache are to shared data.

BioBench: A benchmark suite of bioinformatics applications

Recent advances in bioinformatics and the significant increase in computational power available to researchers have made it possible to make better use of the vast amounts of genetic data that has been collected over the last two decades. As the uses of genetic data expand to include drug discovery and development of gene-based therapies, bioinformatics is destined to take its place in the forefront of scientific computing application domains. Despite the clear importance of this field, common bioinformatics applications and their implication on microarchitectural design have received scant attention from the computer architecture community so far.

The availability of a common set of bioinformatics benchmarks could be the first step to motivate further research in this crucial area. To this end, we assembled BioBench, a benchmark suite that represents a diverse set of bioinformatics applications. The first version of BioBench includes applications from different application domains, with a particular emphasis on mature genomics applications.

Compared to SPEC INT and SPEC FP benchmarks, applications in BioBench display a higher percentage of load/store instructions, almost negligible floating point operation content, and higher IPC than either SPEC INT and SPEC FP applications. Our evaluation suggests that bioinformatics applications have distinctly different characteristics from the applications in both of the mentioned SPEC suites; and our findings indicate that bioinformatics workloads can benefit from architectural improvements to memory bandwidth and techniques that exploit their high levels of ILP.

The entire BioBench suite and accompanying reference data has been made freely available to researchers at The single-thread applications are presented and described in the following paper:

The parallel applications are presented and characterized in the following paper:

Interested? Talk to us.

Contact Information

Prof. Bruce Jacob - email address -

Traditional correspondence can be sent to

Prof. Bruce Jacob
Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

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