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Section: Scientific Foundations

Adaptive middleware for code coupling and data movements

Participants : Vincent Danjean, Thierry Gautier, Clément Pernet, Bruno Raffin, Jean-Louis Roch, Frédéric Wagner.

This theme deals with the design and implementation of programming interfaces in order to achieve an efficient coupling of distributed components.

The implementation of interactive simulation application requires to assemble together various software components and to ensure a semantic on the displayed result. To take into account functional aspects of the computation (inputs, outputs) as well as non functional aspects (bandwidth, latency, persistence), elementary actions (method invocation, communication) have to be coordinated in order to meet some performance objective (precision, quality, fluidity, etc). In such a context the scheduling algorithm plays an important role to adapt the computational power of a cluster architecture to the dynamic behavior due to the interactivity. Whatever the scheduling algorithm is, it is fundamental to enable the control of the simulation. The purpose of this research theme is to specify the semantics of the operators that perform components assembling and to develop a prototype to experiment our proposals on real architectures and applications.

Application Programming Interface

The specification of an API to compose interactive simulation application requires to characterize the components and the interaction between components.The respect of causality between elementary events ensures, at the application level, that a reader will see the last write with respect to an order. Such a consistency should be defined at the level of the application to control the events ordered by a chain of causality. For instance, one of the result of Athapascan was to prove that a data flow consistency is more efficient than other ones because it generates fewer messages. Beyond causality based interactions, new models of interaction should be studied to capture non predictable events (delay of communication, capture of image) while ensuring a semantic.

Our methodology is based on the characterization of interactions required between components in the context of an interactive simulation application. For instance, criteria could be coherency of visualization, degree of interactivity. Beyond such characterization we hope to provide an operational semantic of interactions (at least well suited and understood by usage) and a cost model. Moreover they should be preserved by composition to predict the cost of an execution for part of the application.

The main result relies on a computable representation of the future of an execution; representations such as macro data flow are well suited because they explicit which data are required by a task. Such a representation can be built at runtime by an interpretation technique: the execution of a function call is differed by computing beforehand at runtime a graph of tasks that represents the (future) calls to execute.

Kernel for Asynchronous, Adaptive, Parallel and Interactive Application

Managing the complexity related to fine grain components and reaching high efficiency on a cluster architecture require to consider a dynamic behavior. Also, the runtime kernel is based on a representation of the execution: data flow graph with attributes for each node and efficient operators will be the basis for our software. This kernel has to be specialized for the considered applications. The low layer of the kernel has features to transfer data and to perform remote signalization efficiently. Well known techniques and legacy code have to be reused. For instance, multithreading, asynchronous invocation, overlapping of latency by computing, parallel communication and parallel algorithms for collective operations are fundamental techniques to reach performance. Because the choice of the scheduling algorithm depends on the application and the architecture, the kernel will provide an causally connected representation of the system that is running. This allows to specialize the computation of a good schedule of the data flow graph by providing algorithms (scheduling algorithms for instance) that compute on this (causally connected) representation: any modification of the representation is turned into a modification on the system (the parallel program under execution). Moreover, the kernel provides a set of basic operators to manipulate the graph (e.g. computes a partition from a schedule, remapping tasks, ...) to allow to control a distributed execution.