A Pluggable Framework for Lightweight Task Offloading in Parallel and Distributed Computing

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Executive Summary

Multicore processors have quickly become ubiquitous in supercomputing, cluster computing, datacenter computing, and even personal computing. Software advances, however, continue to lag behind. In the past, software designers could simply rely on clock-speed increases to improve the performance of their software. With clock speeds now stagnant, software designers need to tap into the increased horsepower of multiple cores in a processor by creating software artifacts that support parallelism. To demonstrate the efficacy of the framework, the authors use the framework to implement lightweight task offloading (or software acceleration) for a popular parallel sequence-search application called mpiBLAST. The experimental results on a 9-node, 36-core AMD Opteron cluster show that using mpiBLAST with the pluggable framework results in a 205% speed-up.

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