Evaluating the XMT parallel programming model

TitleEvaluating the XMT parallel programming model
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsNaishlos D, Nuzman J, Tseng CW, Vishkin U
JournalHigh-Level Parallel Programming Models and Supportive Environments
Pagination95 - 108
Date Published2001///

Explicit-multithreading (XMT) is a parallel programming model designed for exploiting on-chip parallelism. Its features include a simple thread execution model and an efficient prefix-sum instruction for synchronizing shared data accesses. By taking advantage of low-overhead parallel threads and high on-chip memory bandwidth, the XMT model tries to reduce the burden on programmers by obviating the need for explicit task assignment and thread coarsening. This paper presents features of the XMT programming model, and evaluates their utility through experiments on a prototype XMT compiler and architecture simulator. We find the lack of explicit task assignment has slight effects on performance for the XMT architecture. Despite low thread overhead, thread coarsening is still necessary to some extent, but can usually be automatically applied by the XMT compiler. The prefix-sum instruction provides more scalable synchronization than traditional locks, and the simple run-untilcompletion thread execution model (no busy-waits) does not impair performance. Finally, the combination of features in XMT can encourage simpler parallel algorithms that may be more efficient than more traditional complex approaches.