Processor PMC sample skid testing
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.

Processor PMC event skid testing

Work in progress.

  • skidtest.c: in a loop, this calls a memory read followed by a NOP "runway" of thousands of no-operations. The read can then be instrumented with PMCs to capture the instruction pointer, which often falls on the NOP runway (which themselves will not cause a read, other than initially loading into the instruction cache). The offset seen in the NOP runway shows the magnitude of skid.


gcc -O0 -o skidtest skidtest.c  


For example, every 1000 LLC-miss on Intel using Linux perf:

perf record -vv -e r412e -c 1000 ./skidtest 1000000

Check the verbose output (-vv) to see if precise_ip (PEBS) was auto-enabled or not (to measure the baseline skid, you want this off).

Choose a size greater than the LLC cache to induce misses.


Various ways to post-process the perf capture. Each of these uses -F to customize the perf script output (older versions, -f), however, on newer kernels the perf script output is sufficient by default (has symoff).

Hits vs skids

perf script --header -F comm,pid,tid,time,event,ip,sym,symoff,dso |\
    awk '/noprunway/ { skid++ } /memreader/ { hit++ } END { printf "hits %d, skid %d\n", hit, skid }'

Skid offset list

perf script --header -F comm,pid,tid,time,event,ip,sym,symoff,dso |\
    awk '/noprunway/ { sub(/noprunway\+/, "", $6); print $6 }' | perl -ne 'print hex($_) . "\n"' | sort -n

This can also be saved to a file, and used as input for skid.r plotting. Sample:

That's excluding hits, although in this case it was over 99% skids (hits 131, skid 152565).

skid offset histogram (as text)

perf script --header -F comm,pid,tid,time,event,ip,sym,symoff,dso |\
    awk '/noprunway/ { sub(/noprunway\+/, "", $6); print $6 }' | perl -e 'while (<>) { $idx = int(hex($_)/10); @a[$idx]++; $m = $idx if $idx > $m; } for ($i = 0; $i < $m; $i++) { $a[$i] += 0; print $i * 10 . " " . $a[$i] . "\n"; }'