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Olga Pearce, Todd Gamblin, Bronis de Supinski, Nancy Amato, "MPMD Framework for Offloading Load Balance Computation," In Proc. Int. Par. and Dist. Proc. Symp. (IPDPS), Chicago, IL, USA, May 2016.
Proceedings(pdf, abstract)

In many parallel scientific simulations, work is as- signed to processors by decomposing a spatial domain consisting of mesh cells, particles, or other elements. When work per element changes, simulations can use dynamic load balance algorithms to distribute work to processors evenly. Typical SPMD simulations wait while a load balance algorithm runs on all processors, but this algorithm can itself become a bottleneck. We propose a novel approach based on two key observations: (1) application state typically changes slowly in SPMD physics simulations, so work assignments computed in the past still produce good load balance in the future; (2) we can decouple the load balance algorithm so that it runs concurrently with the application and more efficiently on a smaller number of processors. We then apply the work assignment “late”, once it has been computed. We call this approach lazy load balancing. In this paper, we show that the rate of change in work distribution is slow for a Barnes-Hut benchmark and for ParaDiS, a dislocation dynamics simulation. We implement an MPMD framework to exploit this property to save resources by running a load balancing algorithm at higher parallel efficiency on a smaller number of processors. Using our framework, we explore the trade-offs of lazy load balancing and demonstrate performance improvements of up to 46%.