Constructing Performance Models for Dense Linear Algebra Algorithms on Cray XE Systems

Research paper by Jorge González-Domínguez, Evangelos Georganas, Yili Zheng, María J. Martín

Indexed on: 06 Feb '14Published on: 06 Feb '14Published in: Computer Science - Distributed; Parallel; and Cluster Computing


Hiding or minimizing the communication cost is key in order to obtain good performance on large-scale systems. While communication overlapping attempts to hide communications cost, 2.5D communication avoiding algorithms improve performance scalability by reducing the volume of data transfers at the cost of extra memory usage. Both approaches can be used together or separately and the best choice depends on the machine, the algorithm and the problem size. Thus, the development of performance models is crucial to determine the best option for each scenario. In this paper, we present a methodology for constructing performance models for parallel numerical routines on Cray XE systems. Our models use portable benchmarks that measure computational cost and network characteristics, as well as performance degradation caused by simultaneous accesses to the network. We validate our methodology by constructing the performance models for the 2D and 2.5D approaches, with and without overlapping, of two matrix multiplication algorithms (Cannon's and SUMMA), triangular solve (TRSM) and Cholesky. We compare the estimations provided by these models with the experimental results using up to 24,576 cores of a Cray XE6 system and predict the performance of the algorithms on larger systems. Results prove that the estimations significantly improve when taking into account network contention.