Conference paper

Unlocking Energy

Locks are a natural place for improving the energy efficiency of software systems. First, concurrent systems are mainstream and when their threads synchronize, they typically do it with locks. Second, locks are well-defined abstractions, hence changing the algorithm implementing them can be achieved without modifying the system. Third, some locking strategies consume more power than others, thus the strategy choice can have a real effect. Last but not least, as we show in this paper, improving the energy efficiency of locks goes hand in hand with improving their throughput. It is a win-win situation. We make our case for this throughput/energy-efficiency correlation through a series of observations obtained from an exhaustive analysis of the energy efficiency of locks on two modern processors and six software systems: Memcached, MySQL, SQLite, RocksDB, HamsterDB, and Kyoto Kabinet. We propose simple lock-based techniques for improving the energy efficiency of these systems by 33% on average, driven by higher throughput, and without modifying the systems.

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