A Pluggable Framework for Lightweight Task Offloading in Parallel and Distributed Computing


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Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University


Multicore processors have quickly become ubiquitous in supercomputing, cluster computing, datacenter computing, and even personal computing. Software advances, however, continue to lag behind. In the past, software designers could simply rely on clock-speed increases to improve the performance of their software. With clock speeds now stagnant, software designers need to tap into the increased horsepower of multiple cores in a processor by creating software artifacts that support parallelism. Rather than forcing designers to write such software artifacts from scratch, we propose a pluggable framework that designers can reuse for lightweight task offloading in a parallel computing environment of multiple cores, whether those cores be colocated on a processor within a compute node, between compute nodes in a tightly-coupled system like a supercomputer, or between compute nodes in a loosely-coupled one like a cloud computer. To demonstrate the efficacy of our framework, we use the framework to implement lightweight task offloading (or software acceleration) for a popular parallel sequence-search application called mpiBLAST. Our experimental results on a 9-node, 36-core AMD Opteron cluster show that using mpiBLAST with our pluggable framework results in a 205% speed-up.



Parallel computation