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A Comparison of Two Approaches to Parallel Simulation of Multiprocessors

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3 Author(s)
Andrew Over ; Department of Computer Science, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia, Email: sim-devel@ccnuma.anu.edu.au ; Bill Clarke ; Peter Strazdins

The design trend towards CMPs has made the simulation of multiprocessor systems a necessity and has also made multiprocessor systems widely available. While a serial multiprocessor simulation necessarily imposes a linear slowdown, running such a simulation in parallel may help mitigate this effect. In this paper we document our experiences with two different methods of parallelizing Sparc Sulima, a simulator of UltraSPARC IIICu-based multiprocessor systems. In the first approach, a simple interconnect model within the simulator is parallelized non-deterministically using careful locking. In the second, a detailed interconnect model is parallelized while preserving determinism using parallel discrete event simulation (PDES) techniques. While both approaches demonstrate a threefold speedup using 4 threads on workloads from the NAS parallel benchmarks, speedup proved constrained by load-balancing between simulated processors. A theoretical model is developed to help understand why observed speedup is less than ideal. An analysis of the related speed-accuracy tradeoff in the first approach with respect to the simulation time quantum is also given; the results show that, for both serial and parallel simulation, a quantum in the order of a few hundreds of cycles represents a `sweet-spot', but parallel simulation is significantly more accurate for a given quantum size. As with the speedup analysis, these effects are workload dependent

Published in:

2007 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems & Software

Date of Conference:

25-27 April 2007