Context Matters: Distributed Graph Algorithms and Runtime Systems

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contextIn this video from the PASC16 conference, Andrew Lumsdaine from Indiana University presents: Context Matters: Distributed Graph Algorithms and Runtime Systems.

“The increasing complexity of the software/hardware stack of modern supercomputers makes understanding the performance of the modern massive-scale codes difficult. Distributed graph algorithms (DGAs) are at the forefront of that complexity, pushing the envelope with their massive irregularity and data dependency. We analyze the existing body of research on DGAs to assess how technical contributions are linked to experimental performance results in the field. We distinguish algorithm-level contributions related to graph problems from “runtime-level” concerns related to communication, scheduling, and other low-level features necessary to make distributed algorithms work. We show that the runtime is an integral part of DGAs’ experimental results, but it is often ignored by the authors in favor of algorithm-level contributions. We argue that a DGA can only be fully understood as a combination of these two aspects and that detailed reporting of runtime details must become an integral part of scientific standard in the field if results are to be truly understandable and interpretable. Based on our analysis of the field, we provide a template for reporting the runtime details of DGA results, and we further motivate the importance of these details by discussing in detail how seemingly minor runtime changes can make or break a DGA.”

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