Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Henry G. Dietz

Abstract

GPUs offer high-performance floating-point computation at commodity prices, but their usage is hindered by programming models which expose the user to irregularities in the current shared-memory environments and require learning new interfaces and semantics.

This thesis will demonstrate that the message-passing paradigm can be conceptually cleaner than the current data-parallel models for programming GPUs because it can hide the quirks of current GPU shared-memory environments, as well as GPU-specific features, behind a well-established and well-understood interface. This will be shown by demonstrating a proof-of-concept MPI implementation which provides cleaner, simpler code with a reasonable performance cost. This thesis will also demonstrate that, although there is a virtualization constraint imposed by MPI, this constraint is harmless as long as the virtualization was already chosen to be optimal in terms of a strong execution model and nearly-optimal execution time. This will be demonstrated by examining execution times with varying virtualization using a computationally-expensive micro-kernel.

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