The Journal of Supercomputing

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 201–217 | Cite as

Communication Benchmarking and Performance Modelling of MPI Programs on Cluster Computers

  • D. A. GroveEmail author
  • P. D. Coddington


This paper gives an overview of two related tools that we have developed to provide more accurate measurement and modelling of the performance of message-passing communication and application programs on distributed memory parallel computers. MPIBench uses a very precise, globally synchronised clock to measure the performance of MPI communication routines. It can generate probability distributions of communication times, not just the average values produced by other MPI benchmarks. This allows useful insights to be made into the MPI communication performance of parallel computers, and in particular how performance is affected by network contention. The Performance Evaluating Virtual Parallel Machine (PEVPM) provides a simple, fast and accurate technique for modelling and predicting the performance of message-passing parallel programs. It uses a virtual parallel machine to simulate the execution of the parallel program. The effects of network contention can be accurately modelled by sampling from the probability distributions generated by MPIBench. These tools are particularly useful on clusters with commodity Ethernet networks, where relatively high latencies, network congestion and TCP problems can significantly affect communication performance, which is difficult to model accurately using other tools. Experiments with example parallel programs demonstrate that PEVPM gives accurate performance predictions on commodity clusters. We also show that modelling communication performance using average times rather than sampling from probability distributions can give misleading results, particularly for programs running on a large number of processors.


parallel computing cluster computing performance modelling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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