On the Interaction of High-Performance Network Protocol Stacks with Multicore Architectures

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Virginia Tech

Multicore architectures have been one of the primary driving forces in the recent rapid growth in high-end computing systems, contributing to its growing scales and capabilities. With significant enhancements in high-speed networking technologies and protocol stacks which support these high-end systems, a growing need to understand the interaction between them closely is realized. Since these two components have been designed mostly independently, there tend to have often serious and surprising interactions that result in heavy asymmetry in the effective capability of the different cores, thereby degrading the performance for various applications. Similarly, depending on the communication pattern of the application and the layout of processes across nodes, these interactions could potentially introduce network scalability issues, which is also an important concern for system designers.

In this thesis, we analyze these asymmetric interactions and propose and design a novel systems level management framework called SIMMer (Systems Interaction Mapping Manager) that automatically monitors these interactions and dynamically manages the mapping of processes on processor cores to transparently maximize application performance. Performance analysis of SIMMer shows that it can improve the communication performance of applications by more than twofold and the overall application performance by 18%. We further analyze the impact of contention in network and processor resources and relate it to the communication pattern of the application. Insights learnt from these analyses can lead to efficient runtime configurations for scientific applications on multicore architectures.

Multicore Architectures, High-Performance Networking, Process-to-Core Mapping, Network Contention, Runtime Adaptation