Simulation Modelling of Distributed-Shared Memory Multiprocessors
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Distributed shared memory (DSM) systems have been recognised as a compelling platform for parallel computing due to the programming advantages and scalability. DSM systems allow applications to access data in a logically shared address space by abstracting away the distinction of physical memory location. As the location of data is transparent, the sources of overhead caused by accessing the distant memories are difficult to analyse. This memory locality problem has been identified as crucial to DSM performance. Many researchers have investigated the problem using simulation as a tool for conducting experiments resulting in the progressive evolution of DSM systems. Nevertheless, both the diversity of architectural configurations and the rapid advance of DSM implementations impose constraints on simulation model designs in two issues: the limitation of the simulation framework on model extensibility and the lack of verification applicability during a simulation run causing the delay in verification process. This thesis studies simulation modelling techniques for memory locality analysis of various DSM systems implemented on top of a cluster of symmetric multiprocessors. The thesis presents a simulation technique to promote model extensibility and proposes a technique for verification applicability, called a Specification-based Parameter Model Interaction (SPMI). The proposed techniques have been implemented in a new interpretation-driven simulation called DSiMCLUSTER on top of a discrete event simulation (DES) engine known as HASE. Experiments have been conducted to determine which factors are most influential on the degree of locality and to determine the possibility to maximise the stability of performance. DSiMCLUSTER has been validated against a SunFire 15K server and has achieved similarity of cache miss results, an average of +-6% with the worst case less than 15% of difference. These results confirm that the techniques used in developing the DSiMCLUSTER can contribute ways to achieve both (a) a highly extensible simulation framework to keep up with the ongoing innovation of the DSM architecture, and (b) the verification applicability resulting in an efficient framework for memory analysis experiments on DSM architecture.