[Beowulf] Correct networking solution for 16-core nodes

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Thu Aug 3 19:38:35 PDT 2006

Gilad Shainer wrote:

> There was a nice debate on message rate, how important is this factor
> when you
> Want to make a decision, what are the real application needs, and if
> this is 
> just a marketing propaganda. For sure, the message rate numbers that are
> listed 
> on Greg web site regarding other interconnects are wrong. 
> I would take a look on the new cluster in Tokyo institute of technology.
> The 
> Servers there are "fat nodes" too.  

Not to try to inject an application centric view into the middle of a 
theoretical debate ...

We have some nice data from November 2005 directly comparing the 
performance of single thread per node to multi-thread per node on a 
system with both Myrinet and Infinipath HTX units in there.  I don't 
have the data in front of me, but I can recall some of the features.

For LAMMPS running on this cluster we saw a definite degradation which 
we ascribed to resource contention after doing more tests, when more 
than 1 thread per node ran.  With 2 threads per node, it was a noticable 
impact on all interconnects.  Something in the 5-10% region.  At one 
thread per core (4 cores in 2 sockets), we were seeing significant 
performance impact from this contention.  We ran the same tests on an 8 
core system and myrinet and the performance impact was more than 
"noticable".  Ran the 4 thread test on 1,2,4 systems, and the 4 way 
using the infinipath, the myrinet, ch_p4, and ch_shmem using MPICH 1.2.7.

We didn't have time to investigate message size or messaging rate.  What 
we did find was for this code using this input deck, on these systems, 
running one thread per node gave us the best performance, and one thread 
per socket was already showing performance degradation.  One thread per 
core on the dual cores was showing significant performance degradation 
on infinipath and myrinet, but not ch_shmem.  ch_p4 was simply a baseline.

Someday it would be nice to explore this again with a range of other codes.


> Gilad.
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Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
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