Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Minimizing the synchronization overhead of X10 programs

The CAMUS team has for long focused on compiling, optimizing, and parallelizing sequential programs. The project described in this section is somewhat unusual in this context, in that it targets programs written in an explicitly parallel language, and applies polyhedral modeling techniques to reschedule computations, effectively introducing parallel-to-parallel program transformations. This work has been done in collaboration with the Inria COMPSYS team at ENS Lyon, and first results were presented at the Compiler Construction conference (CC'14) in April 2014.

The need to leverage the computing power of multi-core processors (and distributed computers) has lead to the design of explicitly parallel programming languages. Such languages often employ a fork/join model, and include syntax to launch and synchronize tasks (also called activities) with well-defined semantics. This brings parallel constructions under the control of the compiler, and introduces new optimization opportunities. Our work has focused on the various synchronization primitives available to the programmer, and more specifically on how one type of synchronization can be replaced with another for specific classes of programs, the goal being to minimize the synchronization overhead. We have demonstrated significant speedups on programs written using the X10 programming language, and have obtained similar results on equivalent Habanero-Java programs.

More specifically, our work focused on synchronization primitives of X10. The X10 language basically has two activity synchronization primitives: one is the explicit use of “clocks” (synchronization barriers) during activity execution, the other is the implicit use of activity containers that synchronize only on the end of activities. Under reasonable conditions on the patterns of activity creation and control, we showed that long-running activities using clocks can be replaced by short-lived activities synchronized only on the end of their containers, and that this transformation provides a significant gain at run time.

We have studied the converse transformation, i.e. starting with an unclocked X10 program, obtaining a system of sequential threads executing in parallel and synchronizing with clocks. This transformation is interesting since it yields to further optimization opportunities. We have elaborated a system of rules to execute the transformation. Applying these rules to "regular" programs gives good results, but fails on some paradigmatic X10 codes. For irregular programs, some parallelism may be lost. We now are investigating a new set of rules to give a correct result for arbitrary X10 programs. A main difficulty is bringing the proof that the set of upgraded rules will give a correct result.

This work has been done in collaboration with Paul Feautrier, member of the COMPSYS Inria team, in ENS Lyon. The CAMUS team has invited Paul Feautrier one more time for one week in June 2014 in Strasbourg.