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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L027402/1
Title: Hybrid Static/Dynamic Scheduling for Task Dataflow Parallel Programs
Principal Investigator: Vandierendonck, Dr H T K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Electronics, Elec Eng & Comp Sci
Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 03 December 2014 Ends: 02 March 2017 Value (£): 96,235
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Fundamentals of Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Jun 2014 EPSRC ICT Responsive Mode - June 2014 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Traditionally, software development has benefit tremendously from the exponential performance increase that processors, the central computing units in computers, have witnessed. Up until about 2004, processor performance doubled about every 18 to 24 months. This trend could however not be sustained due to physical limitations, most importantly constraints on energy consumption. For this reason, processor manufacturars have switched to integrating multiple processor cores on a chip. These processors still allow an overall performance growth at similar rates as before 2004. However, software must be rewritten to utilize all processing cores in order to benefit from this performance potential. The pressure is now on software development as software must have several independent threads of execution, i.e., software must be parallel (or concurrent). The development of high-performance parallel software is non-trivial and is a specialisation of its own. The key problem with parallelism is that it must be taken into account throughout the design of software. Moreover, optimising the performance of parallel software requires many code changes that often increase performance only on specific computers. Parallelism in software imposes a dual expertise on software developers: expertise in the problem domain and expertise in parallel programming. Such a dual expertise is counterproductive in many respects and potentially leads to more costly, less effective and less functional software.

This project aims to alleviate the dual expertise problem by advancing knowledge and technology on parallel programming models based on task dataflow. These programming models separate the specification of the program from the detection of parallelism, thus shifting the focus towards correctness of software and ease of development. Task dataflow models however depend on dynamic analysis of parallelism, which adds to the execution time overhead and restricts the model to programs with coarse-grain parallelism. In contrast, it is known that statically scheduled programs (where parallelism has been decided and mapped out before the program executes) allow considerably finer-grain parallelism.

This project will investigate techniques to reconcile the benefits of dynamically scheduled task dataflow programs with the benefits of static scheduling. To this end, we will investigate compilation techniques and extensions to dynamic schedulers that allow embedding statically scheduled fine-grain parallel components inside coarse-grain dynamically scheduled programs.

If successful, this project will generate both scientific knowledge and long-term practical value for the ICT industry. This research programme will also make initial steps in the philosophically important issue of recompiling parallel programs, an issue that has been largely ignored in the past due to its sheer complexity. This research programme furthermore aligns with the EPSRC ICT capability priority on Many-core architectures and concurrency in distributed and embedded systems".

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Organisation Website: http://www.qub.ac.uk