Hardware Performance Counter Issues

Most modern processors have performance counters that allow for performance analysis, among other uses.

Unfortunately available counters differ greatly, even among imlpementations of the same architecture. In addition, correctness of the counters is a low priority for chip designers, so there are often subtle issues with the counts.

This is an attempt to summarize various issues I've found when using hardware performance counters under Linux.

Counters by PMU Implementation

Frequently Used Counters

Counters by PAPI Usage

I presented a paper at FHPM-2010 that describes how I experimentally find these issues. See this page for more information.
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