Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Rong Ge

Committee Member

Jacob Sorber

Committee Member

Amy Apon

Committee Member

Jon Calhoun


The programming difficulty of creating GPU-accelerated high performance computing (HPC) codes has been greatly reduced by the advent of Unified Memory technologies that abstract the management of physical memory away from the developer. However, these systems incur substantial overhead that paradoxically grows for codes where these technologies are most useful. While these technologies are increasingly adopted for use in modern HPC frameworks and applications, the performance cost reduces the efficiency of these systems and turns away some developers from adoption entirely. These systems are naturally difficult to optimize due to the large number of interconnected hardware and software components that must be untangled to perform thorough analysis.

In this thesis, we take the first deep dive into a functional implementation of a Unified Memory system, NVIDIA UVM, to evaluate the performance and characteristics of these systems. We show specific hardware and software interactions that cause serialization between host and devices. We further provide a quantitative evaluation of fault handling for various applications under different scenarios, including prefetching and oversubscription. Through lower-level analysis, we find that the driver workload is dependent on the interactions among application access patterns, GPU hardware constraints, and Host OS components. These findings indicate that the cost of host OS components is significant and present across UM implementations. We also provide a proof-of-concept asynchronous approach to memory management in UVM that allows for reduced system overhead and improved application performance. This study provides constructive insight into future implementations and systems, such as Heterogeneous Memory Management.

Author ORCID Identifier




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