Suitability of Message Passing Computers for Implementing Production Systems

Anoop Gupta, Milind Tambe

Two important parallel architecture types are the shared-memory architectures and the message-passing architectures. In the past researchers working on the parallel implementations of production systems have focussed either on shared-memory multiprocessors or on special purpose architectures. Message-passing computers have not been studied. The main reasons have been the large message-passing latency (as large as a few milliseconds) and high message reception overheads (several hundred microseconds) exhibited by the first generation message-passing computers. These overheads are too large for the parallel implementation of production systems, where it is necessary to exploit parallelism at a very fine granularity to obtain significant speed-up (subtasks execute about 100 machine instructions). However, recent advances in interconnection network technology and processing node design have cut the network latency and message reception overhead by 2-3 orders of magnitude, making these computers much more interesting. In this paper we present techniques for mapping production systems onto message-passing computers. We show that using a concurrent distributed hash table data structure, it is possible to exploit parallelism at a very fine granularity and to obtain significant speed-ups from paralIelism.


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