A Comparison of the Performance of Two Popular Symmetric Multiprocessors When Used to Run High Performance Computing Applications

Report No. ARL-TR-2476
Authors: Daniel M. Pressel, Stephen Schraml, Steven Thompson, Dixie Hisley, Punyam Satya-narayana, Michael Knowles, and Darren M. Wah
Date/Pages: March 2002; 26 pages
Abstract: Traditionally, symmetric multiprocessors have used modest number of processors. Since many of them were bus-based systems, they inherently lacked scalability to what might be referred to as moderate-sized systems. With the advent of the Sun HPC 10000 and the SGI Origin, we now have symmetric multiprocessors that have successfully scaled to moderate-sized systemts. In fact, SGI has had some success at scaling the Origin into the lower end of the range of large systems. The first symmetric multiprocessor to make that claim was the Convex Exemplar. But based on our experience at the Distributed Center located at NRAD, San Diego, CA (now the Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center), its overall performance and scalability left something to be desired. This report presents the results from runs involving a variety of programs onthe SGI Origins and Sun HPC 10000s located at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)-MSRC, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL-DC), Washington, DC, and other places. Some of these codes (e.g., F3D) are shared memory codes using OPENMP or its predecessors. The remaining codes use message passing (mostly MPI, but one PVM code was tested as well). Additionally, a limited number of runs were made with the CTH code when using processors on more than one Sun HPC 10000. While most of these codes ran well, some codes did require modifications. Additionally, in the process of making these measurements, the authors gained useful insights as to what does and does not work well on these systems.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2002