Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

Committee Director

Mohammad Zubair

Committee Director

Desh Ranjan

Committee Member

Balša Terzić

Committee Member

Andrey Chernikov


Efficient parallel implementations of scientific applications on multi-core CPUs with accelerators such as GPUs and Xeon Phis is challenging. This requires - exploiting the data parallel architecture of the accelerator along with the vector pipelines of modern x86 CPU architectures, load balancing, and efficient memory transfer between different devices. It is relatively easy to meet these requirements for highly-structured scientific applications. In contrast, a number of scientific and engineering applications are unstructured. Getting performance on accelerators for these applications is extremely challenging because many of these applications employ irregular algorithms which exhibit data-dependent control-flow and irregular memory accesses. Furthermore, these applications are often iterative with dependency between steps, and thus making it hard to parallelize across steps. As a result, parallelism in these applications is often limited to a single step. Numerical simulation of charged particles beam dynamics is one such application where the distribution of work and memory access pattern at each time step is irregular. Applications with these properties tend to present significant branch and memory divergence, load imbalance between different processor cores, and poor compute and memory utilization. Prior research on parallelizing such irregular applications have been focused around optimizing the irregular, data-dependent memory accesses and control-flow during a single step of the application independent of the other steps, with the assumption that these patterns are completely unpredictable. We observed that the structure of computation leading to control-flow divergence and irregular memory accesses in one step is similar to that in the next step. It is possible to predict this structure in the current step by observing the computation structure of previous steps.

In this dissertation, we present novel machine learning based optimization techniques to address the parallel implementation challenges of such irregular applications on different HPC architectures. In particular, we use supervised learning to predict the computation structure and use it to address the control-flow and memory access irregularities in the parallel implementation of such applications on GPUs, Xeon Phis, and heterogeneous architectures composed of multi-core CPUs with GPUs or Xeon Phis. We use numerical simulation of charged particles beam dynamics simulation as a motivating example throughout the dissertation to present our new approach, though they should be equally applicable to a wide range of irregular applications. The machine learning approach presented here use predictive analytics and forecasting techniques to adaptively model and track the irregular memory access pattern at each time step of the simulation to anticipate the future memory access pattern. Access pattern forecasts can then be used to formulate optimization decisions during application execution which improves the performance of the application at a future time step based on the observations from earlier time steps. In heterogeneous architectures, forecasts can also be used to improve the memory performance and resource utilization of all the processing units to deliver a good aggregate performance. We used these optimization techniques and anticipation strategy to design a cache-aware, memory efficient parallel algorithm to address the irregularities in the parallel implementation of charged particles beam dynamics simulation on different HPC architectures. Experimental result using a diverse mix of HPC architectures shows that our approach in using anticipation strategy is effective in maximizing data reuse, ensuring workload balance, minimizing branch and memory divergence, and in improving resource utilization.


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