UTS: An Unbalanced Tree Search Benchmark
This paper presents an unbalanced tree search (UTS) benchmark designed to evaluate the performance and ease of programming for parallel applications requiring dynamic load balancing. We describe algorithms for building a variety of unbalanced search trees to simulate different forms of load imbalance. We created versions of UTS in two parallel languages, OpenMP and Unified Parallel C (UPC), using work stealing as the mechanism for reducing load imbalance. We benchmarked the performance of UTS on various parallel architectures, including shared-memory systems and PC clusters. We found it simple to implement UTS in both UPC and OpenMP, due to UPC’s shared-memory abstractions. Results show that both UPC and OpenMP can support efficient dynamic load balancing on shared-memory architectures. However, UPC cannot alleviate the underlying communication costs of distributed-memory systems. Since dynamic load balancing requires intensive communication, performance portability remains difficult for applications such as UTS and performance degrades on PC clusters. By varying key work stealing parameters, we expose important tradeoffs between the granularity of load balance, the degree of parallelism, and communication costs.
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