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Title: The readying of applications for heterogeneous computing
Author: Herdman, Andy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 7738
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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High performance computing is approaching a potentially significant change in architectural design. With pressures on the cost and sheer amount of power, additional architectural features are emerging which require a re-think to the programming models deployed over the last two decades. Today's emerging high performance computing (HPC) systems are maximising performance per unit of power consumed resulting in the constituent parts of the system to be made up of a range of different specialised building blocks, each with their own purpose. This heterogeneity is not just limited to the hardware components but also in the mechanisms that exploit the hardware components. These multiple levels of parallelism, instruction sets and memory hierarchies, result in truly heterogeneous computing in all aspects of the global system. These emerging architectural solutions will require the software to exploit tremendous amounts of on-node parallelism and indeed programming models to address this are emerging. In theory, the application developer can design new software using these models to exploit emerging low power architectures. However, in practice, real industrial scale applications last the lifetimes of many architectural generations and therefore require a migration path to these next generation supercomputing platforms. Identifying that migration path is non-trivial: With applications spanning many decades, consisting of many millions of lines of code and multiple scientific algorithms, any changes to the programming model will be extensive and invasive and may turn out to be the incorrect model for the application in question. This makes exploration of these emerging architectures and programming models using the applications themselves problematic. Additionally, the source code of many industrial applications is not available either due to commercial or security sensitivity constraints. This thesis highlights this problem by assessing current and emerging hard- ware with an industrial strength code, and demonstrating those issues described. In turn it looks at the methodology of using proxy applications in place of real industry applications, to assess their suitability on the next generation of low power HPC offerings. It shows there are significant benefits to be realised in using proxy applications, in that fundamental issues inhibiting exploration of a particular architecture are easier to identify and hence address. Evaluations of the maturity and performance portability are explored for a number of alternative programming methodologies, on a number of architectures and highlighting the broader adoption of these proxy applications, both within the authors own organisation, and across the industry as a whole.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Atomic Weapons Establishment
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software