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Cooperative Data Sharing: Simple Support for Clusters of SMP NodesLibraries like PVM and MPI send typed messages to allow for heterogeneous cluster computing. Lower-level libraries, such as GAM, provide more efficient access to communication by removing the need to copy messages between the interface and user space in some cases. still lower-level interfaces, such as UNET, get right down to the hardware level to provide maximum performance. However, these are all still interfaces for passing messages from one process to another, and have limited utility in a shared-memory environment, due primarily to the fact that message passing is just another term for copying. This drawback is made more pertinent by today's hybrid architectures (e.g. clusters of SMPs), where it is difficult to know beforehand whether two communicating processes will share memory. As a result, even portable language tools (like HPF compilers) must either map all interprocess communication, into message passing with the accompanying performance degradation in shared memory environments, or they must check each communication at run-time and implement the shared-memory case separately for efficiency. Cooperative Data Sharing (CDS) is a single user-level API which abstracts all communication between processes into the sharing and access coordination of memory regions, in a model which might be described as "distributed shared messages" or "large-grain distributed shared memory". As a result, the user programs to a simple latency-tolerant abstract communication specification which can be mapped efficiently to either a shared-memory or message-passing based run-time system, depending upon the available architecture. Unlike some distributed shared memory interfaces, the user still has complete control over the assignment of data to processors, the forwarding of data to its next likely destination, and the queuing of data until it is needed, so even the relatively high latency present in clusters can be accomodated. CDS does not require special use of an MMU, which can add overhead to some DSM systems, and does not require an SPMD programming model. unlike some message-passing interfaces, CDS allows the user to implement efficient demand-driven applications where processes must "fight" over data, and does not perform copying if processes share memory and do not attempt concurrent writes. CDS also supports heterogeneous computing, dynamic process creation, handlers, and a very simple thread-arbitration mechanism. Additional support for array subsections is currently being considered. The CDS1 API, which forms the kernel of CDS, is built primarily upon only 2 communication primitives, one process initiation primitive, and some data translation (and marshalling) routines, memory allocation routines, and priority control routines. The entire current collection of 28 routines provides enough functionality to implement most (or all) of MPI 1 and 2, which has a much larger interface consisting of hundreds of routines. still, the API is small enough to consider integrating into standard os interfaces for handling inter-process communication in a network-independent way. This approach would also help to solve many of the problems plaguing other higher-level standards such as MPI and PVM which must, in some cases, "play OS" to adequately address progress and process control issues. The CDS2 API, a higher level of interface roughly equivalent in functionality to MPI and to be built entirely upon CDS1, is still being designed. It is intended to add support for the equivalent of communicators, reduction and other collective operations, process topologies, additional support for process creation, and some automatic memory management. CDS2 will not exactly match MPI, because the copy-free semantics of communication from CDS1 will be supported. CDS2 application programs will be free to carefully also use CDS1. CDS1 has been implemented on networks of workstations running unmodified Unix-based operating systems, using UDP/IP and vendor-supplied high- performance locks. Although its inter-node performance is currently unimpressive due to rudimentary implementation technique, it even now outperforms highly-optimized MPI implementation on intra-node communication due to its support for non-copy communication. The similarity of the CDS1 architecture to that of other projects such as UNET and TRAP suggests that the inter-node performance can be increased significantly to surpass MPI or PVM, and it may be possible to migrate some of its functionality to communication controllers.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
DiNucci, David C. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Balley, David H.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Subject Category
Documentation and Information Science
Meeting Information
Cluster Computing Conference(Atlanta, GA)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 509-10-31
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.