Issue: Replacement Policy

This lesson highlights some common approaches that we take for the TLB replacement policy.

We'll cover the following

As with any cache, and thus also with the TLB, one more issue that we must consider is cache replacement. Specifically, when we are installing a new entry in the TLB, we have to replace an old one, and thus the question: which one to replace?


Which TLB entry should be replaced when we add a new TLB entry? The goal, of course, is to minimize the miss rate (or increase hit rate) and thus improve performance.

We will study such policies in some detail when we tackle the problem of swapping pages to disk; here we’ll just highlight a few typical policies.

Typical approaches for replacement

One common approach is to evict the least-recently-used or LRU entry. LRU tries to take advantage of locality in the memory-reference stream, assuming it is likely that an entry that has not recently been used is a good candidate for eviction.

Another typical approach is to use a random policy, which evicts a TLB mapping at random. Such a policy is useful due to its simplicity and ability to avoid corner-case behaviors; for example, a “reasonable” policy such as LRU behaves quite unreasonably when a program loops over n+1n + 1 pages with a TLB of size nn; in this case, LRU misses upon every access, whereas random does much better.

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