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Reusable software components for accelerator-based clusters

M. Mustafa Rafique, Ali R. Butt, Eli Tilevich
Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech, 2202 Kraft Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061, United States
Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 84, Issue 7, July 2011, Pages 1071-1081

@article{rafique2011reusable,

   title={Reusable software components for accelerator-based clusters},

   author={Rafique, M.M. and Butt, A.R. and Tilevich, E.},

   journal={Journal of Systems and Software},

   year={2011},

   publisher={Elsevier}

}

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The emerging accelerator-based heterogeneous clusters, comprising specialized processors such as the IBM Cell and GPUs, have exhibited excellent price to performance ratio as well as high energy-efficiency. However, developing and maintaining software for such systems is fraught with challenges, especially for modern high-performance computing (HPC) applications that can benefit the most from leveraging accelerators. If accelerator-based clusters are to deliver on their initial promise to provide a viable and cost-effective HPC solution to researchers and practitioners, one must find a software solution to lower the barrier to entry for the average user. In this paper, we investigate how a software component based approach can be used to provide a reusable and adaptable architecture for executing HPC tasks on accelerator-based clusters. In our implementation, we leverage the lessons from the software engineering research for component-based layered architectures. Our results indicate that the complexity of developing and maintaining accelerator-based cluster software can be as effectively tamed by solid software engineering approaches as that of software in more traditional domains. Specifically, we were able to reuse 83.6% of our implementation code across different architectures and resource configurations, while achieving the overall execution performance only 1.5% off that of an optimally hand-tuned, albeit non-reusable version.
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