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Scalability of parallel algorithm-machine combinations

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2 Author(s)
Xian-He Sun ; NASA Langley Res. Center, Hampton, VA, USA ; Rover, D.T.

Scalability has become an important consideration in parallel algorithm and machine designs. The word scalable, or scalability, has been widely and often used in the parallel processing community. However, there is no adequate, commonly accepted definition of scalability available. Scalabilities of computer systems and programs are difficult to quantify, evaluate, and compare. In this paper, scalability is formally defined for algorithm-machine combinations. A practical method is proposed to provide a quantitative measurement of the scalability. The relation between the newly proposed scalability and other existing parallel performance metrics is studied. A harmony between speedup and scalability has been observed. Theoretical results show that a large class of algorithm-machine combinations is scalable and the scalability can be predicted through premeasured machine parameters. Two algorithms have been studied on an nCUBE 2 multicomputer and on a MasPar MP-1 computer. These case studies have shown how scalabilities can be measured, computed, and predicted. Performance instrumentation and visualization tools also have been used and developed to understand the scalability related behavior

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 6 )