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Title: Performance characterization of computational resources for time-constrained job execution in P2P environments
Author: Awan, Malik Shahzad K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 184X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing, involving the participation of thousands of general purpose, public computers, has established itself as a viable paradigm for executing looselycoupled, complex scientific applications requiring significant computational resources. The paradigm provides cheap, general-purpose computing resources with comparable computing power (FLOP/s) to an otherwise expensive supercomputer. The main characteristic of the paradigm is the volunteer participation of the general public, without any legal obligation, who dedicate their heterogeneous computational resources for advancing scientific research. The development of several middleware solutions have also furthered the application of P2P computing for solving complex scientific problems. The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is one of the most widely deployed middleware platforms in P2P systems, and has been deployed in more than 7.5 million general purpose computers for scientific computations, achieving an overall performance of 16,632.605 TeraFLOPS., a large P2P project based on the BOINC middleware, involves more than 429,000 machines representing 200 different microprocessor architectures and running 21 distinct operating systems. The availability of such a large and diverse set of computational resources requires an in-depth investigation into the performance aspects of available computational resources in this dynamic P2P environment. This thesis analyses the performance data of primarily collected using two benchmarks, Dhrystone and Whetstone, which form part of the BOINC middleware. The results reveal a significant variation in integer and floating-point operational performance characterized by Dhrystone and Whetstone respectively for similar microprocessors, operating systems and hardware configurations. Under the BOINC environment, these performance results could be useful for: i) the selection of a suitable computing platform for executing time-constrained jobs; ii) calculating an incentive unit for rewarding project participants for their volunteer participation in large P2P projects to advance scientific research; and iii) efficient and effective utilization of available computational resources. However, the inconsistency in performance results of Dhrystone and Whetstone significantly affect their usefulness for the afore-mentioned three important applications areas, and highlight the need for reliability and consistency of performance results for obtaining maximum benefit in an uncontrolled and dynamic P2P environment. This thesis, based on the analysis of performance data of, identifies the key challenges associated with benchmarking in P2P environments. The thesis further suggests the design of a new light-weight P2P representative benchmark, by considering the source code of large P2P projects. The design outline of a new light-weight P2P representative benchmark – MalikStone – has been presented, whilst the results of MalikStone are compared with Dhrystone, Whetstone and CPU SPEC2006 and show its superiority in terms of consistency over both Dhrystone and Whetstone. For floating-point performance, MalikStone gave more representative results than Whetstone for Intel Corei5- 2400, Q9400, Q6600 and Pentium D processors with the standard deviation of repeated runs remaining less than 1 for each of the platforms. Similarly for integer operations, MalikStone also performed more consistently than Dhrystone with the standard deviation of repeated runs remaining less than 1 and gave more representative results for Corei5-2400, Q9400, Q6600 and Pentium D processors. In addition to the consistency in performance results, MalikStone captures broader performance characteristics by measuring floating-point, integer, bitwise-logic, string manipulation and programming construct operations. The performance results of MalikStone are further used for designing a new incentive unit – MalikCredit – for ensuring fairness in rewarding the project participants for their volunteer participation in large P2P projects to advance scientific research. MalikCredit is compared with BOINC’s existing incentive unit – Cobblestone, at three levels: 1) hourly level; 2) work-unit level; and 3) team-level; with the results showing fairness in rewards awarded using MalikCredit. This in turn is useful for retaining the existing project participants and attracting new volunteers for participating in large P2P projects, thereby, enhancing the application of P2P computing for solving scientific problems. A comparison of the credit values for the considered microprocessor architectures reveals that MalikCredit values are at least 2X more than Cobblestone values before normalization while the difference increases up to 3.3X for the fastest microprocessor, once normalization is applied to the claimed Cobblestones. The application of performance characterization done by MalikStone is further extended for scheduling computational resources by dynamically slicing the work-units keeping in view the available computational time of the resources and estimated execution time of the work-unit. The results of this new scheduling policy highlight their usefulness in maximizing the utilization of available computational resources when compared to BOINC’s traditional scheduling policies. The results have revealed that the policy improved the utilization of available computational resources by approximately 10% for the considered set of computational resources under the experimental setup considered in the case study (see Chapter 5). The findings of this thesis are envisaged to be primarily of significance to three main stakeholders: i) application developers; ii) project participants; and iii) project administrators. For application developers, the performance characterization done by MalikStone will be useful in exploiting the characteristics of underlying platforms for efficient execution, while at the same time supporting the improvement efforts for future versions of the software. The results will support project participants by informing them as to the amount of RAM, swap memory and main memory consumed during execution. The fairness in received rewards will encourage the existing project participants to continue participating in the lengthy execution of large P2P projects and will motivate the new volunteers to dedicate their computational resources to join large P2P projects. For the project administrators, the findings of this thesis will be useful in identifying suitable processor, operating system and hardware component configuration for best-case execution. In such a case the middleware might be instructed to postpone the allocation of work until a more effective architecture became available. Further, the newly proposed scheduling policy involving dynamic slicing of work-units based on the performance characterization of MalikStone could be deployed for improving the utilization of available computational resources. Finally, a few avenues of future research have been identified, which if explored could further enhance the appeal of this dynamic and uncontrolled P2P computing paradigm for cheaply solving complex and lengthy scientific problems that otherwise require enormous amount of financial cost as well as computational resources even exceeding that of traditional supercomputers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software ; TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering