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System and method for maintaining translation look-aside buffer (TLB) consistency

Image Number 9 for United States Patent #6105113.

A system and method for maintaining consistency between translational look-aside buffers (TLB) and page tables. A TLB has a TLB table for storing a list of virtual memory address-to-physical memory address translations, or page table entries (PTES) and a hardware-based controller for invalidating a translation that is stored in the TLB table when a corresponding page table entry changes. The TLB table includes a virtual memory (VM) page tag and a page table entry address tag for indexing the list of translations The VM page tag can be searched for VM pages that are referenced by a process. If a referenced VM page is found, an associated physical address is retrieved for use by the processor. The TLB controller includes a snooping controller for snooping a cache-memory interconnect for activity that affects PTEs. The page table entry address tag can be searched by a search engine in the TLB controller for snooped page table entry addresses. The TLB controller includes an updating module for invalidating or updating translations associated with snooped page table entry addresses. Translations in TLBs are thus updated or invalidated through hardware when an operating system changes a PTE, without intervention by an operating system or other software.

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