Scheduling Dataflow Execution Across Multiple Accelerators

Jon Currey, Adam Eversole, Christopher J. Rossbach
Microsoft Research
The 4th Workshop on Systems for Future Multicore Architectures (SFMA’14), 2014


   title={Scheduling Dataflow Execution Across Multiple Accelerators},

   author={Currey, Jon and Eversole, Adam and Rossbach, Christopher J},



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Dataflow execution engines such as MapReduce, DryadLINQ and PTask have enjoyed success because they simplify development for a class of important parallel applications. Expressing the computation as a dataflow graph allows the runtime, and not the programmer, to own problems such as synchronization, data movement and scheduling – leveraging dynamic information to inform strategy and policy in a way that is impossible for a programmer who must work only with a static view. While this vision enjoys considerable intuitive appeal, the degree to which dataflow engines can implement performance profitable policies in the general case remains under-evaluated. We consider the problem of scheduling in a dataflow engine on a platform with multiple GPUs. In this setting, the cost of moving data from one accelerator to another must be weighed against the benefit of parallelism exposed by performing computations on multiple accelerators. An ideal runtime would automatically discover an optimal or near-optimal partitioning of computation across the available resources with little or no user input. The wealth of dynamic and static information available to a scheduler in this context makes the policy space for scheduling dauntingly large. We present and evaluate a number of approaches to scheduling and partitioning dataflow graphs across available accelerators. We show that simple throughput- or localitypreserving policies do not always do well. For the workloads we consider, an optimal static partitioner operating on a global view of the dataflow graph is an attractive solution – either matching or out-performing a hand-optimized schedule. Application-level knowledge of the graph can be leveraged to achieve best-case performance.
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