CableS

CableS : thread control and memory system extensions for shared virtual memory clusters Clusters of high-end workstations and PCs are currently used in many application domains to perform large-scale computations or as scalable servers for I/O bound tasks. Although clusters have many advantages, their applicability in new areas and especially in areas of commercial applications has been limited. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that clusters do not provide a single system image and thus are hard to program. In this work we address this problem by providing a single cluster image with respect to thread and memory management to programmers. The main limitation of our system is that it does not yet provide file system and networking support across cluster nodes. We implement our system on a 16-processor cluster interconnected with a low-latency, high-bandwidth system area network. We demonstrate the versatility of our system with a wide range of applications. We show that clusters can be used to support applications that have been written for more expensive tightly-coupled systems, with very little effort on the programmer side. Finally, we show that the overhead introduced by the extra functionality of CableS affects the parallel section of applications that have been tuned for the shared memory abstraction only in cases where the data placement policy of the system results in improper placement due to operating system limitations in virtual memory mappings granularity

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