Transparent Speculative Parallelization of Discrete Event Simulation Applications Using Global Variables

Alessandro Pellegrini, Sebastiano Peluso, Francesco Quaglia, and Roberto Vitali

Published in: International Journal of Parallel Programming, 2016
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Parallelizing (compute-intensive) discrete event simulation (DES) applications is a classical approach for speeding up their execution and for making very large/complex simulation models tractable. This has been historically achieved via parallel DES (PDES) techniques, which are based on partitioning the simulation model into distinct simulation objects (somehow resembling objects in classical object-oriented programming), whose states are disjoint, which are executed concurrently and rely on explicit event-exchange (or event-scheduling) primitives as the means to support mutual dependencies and notification of their state updates. With this approach, the application developer is necessarily forced to reason about state separation across the objects, thus being not allowed to rely on shared information, such as global variables, within the application code. This implicitly leads to the shift of the user-exposed programming model to one where sequential-style global variable accesses within the application code are not allowed. In this article we remove this limitation by providing support for managing global variables in the context of DES code developed in ANSI-C, which gets automatically parallelized. Particularly, we focus on speculative (also termed optimistic) PDES systems that run on top of multi-core machines, where simulation objects can concurrently process their events with no guarantee of causal consistency and actual violations of causality rules are recovered through rollback/recovery schemes. In compliance with the nature of speculative processing, in our proposal global variables are transparently mapped to multi-versions, so as to avoid any form of safety predicate verification upon their updates. Consistency is ensured via the introduction of a new rollback/recovery scheme based on detecting global variables’ reads on non-correct versions. At the same time, efficiency in the execution is guaranteed by managing multi-version variables’ lists via non-blocking algorithms. Furthermore, the whole approach is fully transparent, being it based on automatized instrumentation of the application software (particularly ELF objects). Hence the programmer is exposed to the classical (and easy to code) sequential-style programming scheme while accessing any global variable. An experimental assessment of our proposal, based on a suite of case study applications, run on top of an off-the-shelf Linux machine equipped with 32 CPU-cores and 64 GB of RAM, is also presented.

BibTeX Entry:

author = {Pellegrini, Alessandro and Peluso, Sebastiano and Quaglia, Francesco and Vitali, Roberto},
title = {Transparent Speculative Parallelization of Discrete Event Simulation Applications Using Global Variables},
journal = {International Journal of Parallel Programming},
year = {2016},
issn = {0885-7458},
month = dec,
number = {6},
pages = {1200--1247},
volume = {44},
doi = {10.1007/s10766-016-0429-2},
publisher = {Springer Verlag},
series = {IJPP}