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Title: Complementing user-level coarse-grain parallelism with implicit speculative parallelism
Author: Ioannou, Nikolas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 2669
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2012
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Multi-core and many-core systems are the norm in contemporary processor technology and are expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. Parallel programming is, thus, here to stay and programmers have to endorse it if they are to exploit such systems for their applications. Programs using parallel programming primitives like PThreads or OpenMP often exploit coarse-grain parallelism, because it offers a good trade-off between programming effort versus performance gain. Some parallel applications show limited or no scaling beyond a number of cores. Given the abundant number of cores expected in future many-cores, several cores would remain idle in such cases while execution performance stagnates. This thesis proposes using cores that do not contribute to performance improvement for running implicit fine-grain speculative threads. In particular, we present a many-core architecture and protocols that allow applications with coarse-grain explicit parallelism to further exploit implicit speculative parallelism within each thread. We show that complementing parallel programs with implicit speculative mechanisms offers significant performance improvements for a large and diverse set of parallel benchmarks. Implicit speculative parallelism frees the programmer from the additional effort to explicitly partition the work into finer and properly synchronized tasks. Our results show that, for a many-core comprising 128 cores supporting implicit speculative parallelism in clusters of 2 or 4 cores, performance improves on top of the highest scalability point by 44% on average for the 4-core cluster and by 31% on average for the 2-core cluster. We also show that this approach often leads to better performance and energy efficiency compared to existing alternatives such as Core Fusion and Turbo Boost. Moreover, we present a dynamic mechanism to choose the number of explicit and implicit threads, which performs within 6% of the static oracle selection of threads. To improve energy efficiency processors allow for Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS), which enables changing their performance and power consumption on-the-fly. We evaluate the amenability of the proposed explicit plus implicit threads scheme to traditional power management techniques for multithreaded applications and identify room for improvement. We thus augment prior schemes and introduce a novel multithreaded power management scheme that accounts for implicit threads and aims to minimize the Energy Delay2 product (ED2). Our scheme comprises two components: a “local” component that tries to adapt to the different program phases on a per explicit thread basis, taking into account implicit thread behavior, and a “global” component that augments the local components with information regarding inter-thread synchronization. Experimental results show a reduction of ED2 of 8% compared to having no power management, with an average reduction in power of 15% that comes at a minimal loss of performance of less than 3% on average.
Supervisor: Cintra, Marcelo; O'Boyle, Michael Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: many-core architecture ; thread-level speculation ; thread-level parallelism ; power management