A programming model and performance model for cycle stealing

Sumitomo, Jiro (2006) A programming model and performance model for cycle stealing. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This work describes a programming model and performance model for cycle stealing on the Internet.

Cycle stealing is the use of otherwise idle computers to perform work, and promises high performance computing at relatively low cost. The Internet, being the largest pool of potentially idle computers, is an obvious target for cycle stealing. However, computers connected to the Internet are often protected by firewalls, preventing point-to-point communication between them. The fluctuating avail-ability of computers for cycle stealing as they move in and out of an idle state, combined with the restricted communication of the Internet environment, means that programming models and abstractions suitable for programming supercom-puters and clusters are not ideal. Therefore, I have created a programming model for cycle stealing which reflects the types of parallel applications that are suitable for execution using idle computers connected to the Internet. The model is de-signed for use by non-expert parallel programmers, and I will show how it simpli-fies the development of cycle stealing applications, enabling rapid application de-velopment, and straightforward porting of existing sequential applications. This simple to use programming model, combined with the low cost of cycle stealing, improves the accessibility of high performance computing to non-traditional us-ers of supercomputers and clusters.

Deployment on the Internet, and the need to navigate through firewalls, suggests a web based framework using common web protocols, web servers and web browsers. Part of this work investigates the feasibility of web based approaches to cycle stealing, from the setup of a cycle stealing system, application development and deployment, and connection of potentially idle computers. I designed and implemented a cycle stealing framework, deployable on the web, to meet expec-tations of performance, reliability, ease of use and safety.

Existing cycle stealing frameworks emphasise the need for applications to be de-composed into a set of jobs that execute for a long period, that is, a job should have a computation time sufficient to justify its communication cost. However, there are no tools available for users to determine what an appropriate computa-tion time might be, given a job's data communication requirements. To date, de-ciding the granularity of jobs has been a matter of intuition. Therefore, a user may experience uncertainty as to the benefit of cycle stealing for their particular application, especially if the applications will have relatively short-lived jobs. Based on performance analysis of my framework, I have developed an analytical model and simulator, which can be used to predict, and help to optimise, the per-formance of user applications, and show the feasibility of executing a particular application using the cycle stealing framework.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16320
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Refereed: No
Supervisor: Kelly, Wayne & Roe, Paul
Keywords: cycle stealing, cycle scavenging, volunteer computing, programming model, performance model, performance analysis, simulation, distributed computing
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Software Engineering & Data Communications
Department: Faculty of Information Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Jiro Sumitomo
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:01
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:46

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