Asymmetric Interactions in Symmetric Multi-core Systems: Analysis, Enhancements and Evaluation

T Scogland and P Balaji and W Feng and G Narayanaswamy, INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING, NETWORKING, STORAGE AND ANALYSIS, 716-727 (2008).

Multi-core architectures have spurred the recent rapid growth in high- end computing systems. While the vast majority of such multi-core processors contain symmetric hardware components, their interaction with systems software, in particular the communication stack, results in a remarkable amount of asymmetry in the effective capability of the different cores. In this paper, we analyze such interactions and propose a novel management library called SyMMer (Systems Mapping Manager) that monitors these interactions and dynamically manages the mapping of processes on processor cores to transparently improve application performance. Together with a detailed description of the SyMMer library, we also present performance evaluation comparing SyMMer to a vanilla communication library using various micro-benchmarks as well as popular applications and scientific libraries. Experimental results demonstrate more than a two-fold improvement in communication time and 10-15% improvement in overall application performance.

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