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A discrete-event simulator's ability to distribute the execution of a simulation model allows one to deal with the memory limitations of a single computational resource, and thereby increase the scale or level of detail at which models can be studied. In addition, distribution has the potential to reduce the round trip time of a simulation by incorporating multiple computational cores into the simulation's execution. However, such gains can be voided by the overhead that time synchronization protocols introduce. These protocols are required to prevent the occurrence of causality errors during a parallel execution of a simulation. The overhead depends on the protocol, characteristics of the simulation model, and the architecture of the computational resources used. Recently, infrastructure-as-a-service offerings in cloud computing have introduced flexibility in acquiring computational resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. At present, it is unclear to what extent these offerings are suited for the distributed execution of discrete-event simulations, and how the characteristics of different resource types impact the runtime performance of distributed simulations. In this paper we investigate this issue, and assess the performance of different conservative time synchronization protocols on a range of cloud resource types that are currently available on Amazon EC2.
Date of Conference: 13-16 May 2012