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Since the advent of distributed computer systems an active field of research has been the investigation of scheduling strategies for parallel applications. The common approach is to employ scheduling heuristics that approximate an optimal schedule. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to obtain analytical results to compare the efficacy of these heuristics. One possibility is to conducts large numbers of back-to-back experiments on real platforms. While this is possible on tightly-coupled platforms, it is infeasible on modern distributed platforms (i.e. Grids) as it is labor-intensive and does not enable repeatable results. The solution is to resort to simulations. Simulations not only enables repeatable results but also make it possible to explore wide ranges of platform and application scenarios. In this paper we present the SimGrid framework which enables the simulation of distributed applications in distributed computing environments for the specific purpose of developing and evaluating scheduling algorithms. This paper focuses on SimGrid v2, which greatly improves on the first version of the software with more realistic network models and topologies. SimGrid v2 also enables the simulation of distributed scheduling agents, which has become critical for current scheduling research in large-scale platforms. After describing and validating these features, we present a case study by which we demonstrate the usefulness of SimGrid for conducting scheduling research.
Date of Conference: 12-15 May 2003