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Problems, Directions and Issues in Memory Hierarchies

Smith, Alan Jay
Technical Report Identifier: CSD-84-220
December 1984

Abstract: The effective and efficient use of the memory hierarchy of the computer system is one of the, if not the single most important aspect of computer system design and use. Cache memory performance is often the limiting factor in CPU performance and cache memories also serve to cut the memory traffic in multiprocessor systems. Multiprocessor systems are also requiring advances in cache architecture with respect to cache consistency. Similarly, the study of the best means to share main memory is an important research topic. Disk cache is becoming important for performance in high end computer systems and is now widely available commercially; there are many related research problems. The development of mass storage, especially optical disk, will promote research in effective algorithms for file management and migration. In this paper, we look at each component of the memory hierarchy and address two issues: what are likely directions for development, and what are the interesting research problems.