E2C: A Visual Simulator to Reinforce Education of Heterogeneous Computing Systems

Ali Mokhtari, Drake Rawls, Tony Huynh, Jeremiah Green, Mohsen Amini Salehi
High Performance Cloud Computing (HPCC) Laboratory, School of Computing and Informatics, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA 70503, USA
arXiv:2303.10901 [cs.DC], (20 Mar 2023)


   title={E2C: A Visual Simulator to Reinforce Education of Heterogeneous Computing Systems},

   author={Ali Mokhtari and Drake Rawls and Tony Huynh and Jeremiah Green and Mohsen Amini Salehi},






With the increasing popularity of accelerator technologies (e.g., GPUs and TPUs) and the emergence of domain-specific computing via ASICs and FPGA, the matter of heterogeneity and understanding its ramifications on the performance has become more critical than ever before. However, it is challenging to effectively educate students about the potential impacts of heterogeneity on the performance of distributed systems; and on the logic of resource allocation methods to efficiently utilize the resources. Making use of the real infrastructure for benchmarking the performance of heterogeneous machines, for different applications, with respect to different objectives, and under various workload intensities is cost- and time-prohibitive. To reinforce the quality of learning about various dimensions of heterogeneity, and to decrease the widening gap in education, we develop an open-source simulation tool, called E2C, that can help students researchers to study any type of heterogeneous (or homogeneous) computing system and measure its performance under various configurations. E2C is equipped with an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that enables its users to easily examine system-level solutions (scheduling, load balancing, scalability, etc.) in a controlled environment within a short time. E2C is a discrete event simulator that offers the following features: (i) simulating a heterogeneous computing system; (ii) implementing a newly developed scheduling method and plugging it into the system, (iii) measuring energy consumption and other output-related metrics; and (iv) powerful visual aspects to ease the learning curve for students. We used E2C as an assignment in the Distributed and Cloud Computing course. Our anonymous survey study indicates that students rated E2C with the score of 8.7 out of 10 for its usefulness in understanding the concepts of scheduling in heterogeneous computing.
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