IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems

IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (TPDS) is a scholarly archival journal published monthly. Parallelism and distributed computing are foundational research and technology to rapidly advance computer systems and their applications. Read the full scope of TPDS

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From the October 2017 Issue

Improving IBM POWER8 Performance through Symbiotic Job Scheduling

By Josué Feliu, Stijn Eyerman, Julio Sahuquillo, Salvador Petit, and Lieven Eeckhout

Symbiotic job scheduling, i.e., scheduling applications that co-run well together on a core, can have a considerable impact on the performance of processors with simultaneous multithreading (SMT) cores. SMTcores share most of their microarchitectural components among the co-running applications, which causes performance interference between them. Therefore, scheduling applications with complementary resource requirements on the same core can greatly improve the throughput of the system. This paper enhances symbiotic job scheduling for the IBM POWER8 processor. We leverage the existing cycle accounting mechanism to build an interference model that predicts symbiosis between applications. The proposed models achieve higher accuracy than previous models by predicting job symbiosis from throttled CPI stacks, i.e., CPI stacks of the applications when running in the same SMT mode to consider the statically partitioned resources, but without interference from other applications. The symbiotic scheduler uses these interference models to decide, at run-time, which applications should run on the same core or on separate cores. We prototype the symbiotic scheduler as a user-level scheduler in the Linux operating system and evaluate it on an IBM POWER8 server running multiprogram workloads. The symbiotic job scheduler significantly improves performance compared to both an agnostic random scheduler and the default Linux scheduler. Across all evaluated workloads in SMT4 mode, throughput improves by 12.4 and 5.1 percent on average over the random and Linux schedulers, respectively.

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