Publications / Conference Paper

Low-cost MPI Multithreaded Message Matching Benchmarking

Schonbein, William W.; Levy, Scott; Marts, W.P.; Dosanjh, Matthew D.; Grant, Ryan E.

The Message Passing Interface (MPI) standard allows user-level threads to concurrently call into an MPI library. While this feature is currently rarely used, there is considerable interest from developers in adopting it in the near future. There is reason to believe that multithreaded communication may incur additional message processing overheads in terms of number of items searched during demultiplexing and amount of time spent searching because it has the potential to increase the number of messages exchanged and to introduce non-deterministic message ordering. Therefore, understanding the implications of adding multithreading to MPI applications is important for future application development.One strategy for advancing this understanding is through 'low-cost' benchmarks that emulate full communication patterns using fewer resources. For example, while a complete, 'real-world' multithreaded halo exchange requires 9 or 27 nodes, the low-cost alternative needs only two, making it deployable on systems where acquiring resources is difficult because of high utilization (e.g., busy capacity-computing systems), or impossible because the necessary resources do not exist (e.g., testbeds with too few nodes). While such benchmarks have been proposed, the reported results have been limited to a single architecture or derived indirectly through simulation, and no attempt has been made to confirm that a low-cost benchmark accurately captures features of full (non-emulated) exchanges. Moreover, benchmark code has not been made publicly available.The purpose of the study presented in this paper is to quantify how accurately the low-cost benchmark captures the matching behavior of the full, real-world benchmark. In the process, we also advocate for the feasibility and utility of the low-cost benchmark. We present a 'real-world' benchmark implementing a full multithreaded halo exchange on 9 and 27 nodes, as defined by 5-point and 9-point 2D stencils, and 7-point and 27-point 3D stencils. Likewise, we present a 'low-cost' benchmark that emulates these communication patterns using only two nodes. We then confirm, across multiple architectures, that the low-cost benchmark gives accurate estimates of both number of items searched during message processing, and time spent processing those messages. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of the low-cost benchmark by using it to profile the performance impact of state-of-The-Art Mellanox ConnectX-5 hardware support for offloaded MPI message demultiplexing. To facilitate further research on the effects of multithreaded MPI on message matching behavior, the source of our two benchmarks is to be included in the next release version of the Sandia MPI Micro-Benchmark Suite.