Efficient Communication and Synchronization on Manycore Processors

The increased number of cores integrated on a chip has brought about a number of challenges. Concerns about the scalability of cache coherence protocols have urged both researchers and practitioners to explore alternative programming models, where cache coherence is not a given. Message passing, traditionally used in distributed systems, has surfaced as an appealing alternative to shared memory, commonly used in multiprocessor systems. In this thesis, we study how basic communication and synchronization primitives on manycore processors can be improved, with an accent on taking advantage of message passing. We do this in two different contexts: (i) message passing is the only means of communication and (ii) it coexists with traditional cache-coherent shared memory. In the first part of the thesis, we analytically and experimentally study collective communication on a message-passing manycore processor. First, we devise broadcast algorithms for the Intel SCC, an experimental manycore platform without coherent caches. Our ideas are captured by OC-Bcast (on-chip broadcast), a tree-based broadcast algorithm. Two versions of OC-Bcast are presented: One for synchronous communication, suitable for use in high-performance libraries implementing the Message Passing Interface (MPI), and another for asynchronous communication, for use in distributed algorithms and general-purpose software. Both OC-Bcast flavors are based on one-sided communication and significantly outperform (by up to 3x) state-of-the-art two-sided algorithms. Next, we conceive an analytical communication model for the SCC. By expressing the latency and throughput of different broadcast algorithms through this model, we reveal that the advantage of OC-Bcast comes from greatly reducing the number of off-chip memory accesses on the critical path. The second part of the thesis focuses on lock-based synchronization. We start by introducing the concept of hybrid mutual exclusion algorithms, which rely both on cache-coherent shared memory and message passing. The hybrid algorithms we present, HybLock and HybComb, are shown to significantly outperform (by even 4x) their shared-memory-only counterparts, when used to implement concurrent counters, stacks and queues on a hybrid Tilera TILE-Gx processor. The advantage of our hybrid algorithms comes from the fact that their most critical parts rely on message passing, thereby avoiding the overhead of the cache coherence protocol. Still, we take advantage of shared memory, as shared state makes the implementation of certain mechanisms much more straightforward. Next, we try to profit from these insights even on processors without hardware support for message passing. Taking two classic x86 processors from Intel and AMD, we come up with cache-aware optimizations that improve the performance of executing contended critical sections by as much as 6x.

    Keywords: multicore ; manycore ; concurrency ; parallelism ; HPC ; broadcast ; mutual exclusion

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 6552 (2015)
    Programme doctoral Informatique, Communications et Information
    Faculté informatique et communications
    Institut de systèmes de communication
    Laboratoire de systèmes répartis
    Jury: Prof. W. Zwaenepoel (président) ; Prof. A. Schiper (directeur) ; Prof. S.V. Adve, Prof. P. Fatourou, Prof. R. Guerraoui (rapporteurs)

    Public defense: 2015-3-20


    Record created on 2015-03-10, modified on 2016-08-09

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