Conference Paper

Patterns and statistical analysis for understanding reduced resource computing

DOI: 10.1145/1869459.1869525 Conference: Proceedings of the 25th Annual ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications, OOPSLA 2010, October 17-21, 2010, Reno/Tahoe, Nevada, USA
Source: DBLP


We present several general, broadly applicable mechanisms that enable computations to execute with reduced resources, typically at the cost of some loss in the accuracy of the result they produce.We identify several general computational patterns that interact well with these resource reduction mechanisms, present a concrete manifestation of these patterns in the form of simple model programs, perform simulationbased explorations of the quantitative consequences of applying these mechanisms to our model programs, and relate the model computations (and their interaction with the resource reduction mechanisms) to more complex benchmark applications drawn from a variety of fields.

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    • "It is possible to validate such analyses by running the program on representative inputs and either performing statistical tests on the values that the program manipulates, observing how well the analytic model (conservatively) predicts the observed differences in the results that the original and perforated computations produce, or both. In the absence of an accurate analytic model of the computation (this can happen if the computation is too complex to model analytically), simulation may provide an effective way to model the effect of perforation on the accuracy of the computation [9] "
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    ABSTRACT: Traditional program transformations operate under the onerous constraint that they must preserve the exact behavior of the transformed program. But many programs are designed to produce approximate results. Lossy video encoders, for example, are designed to give up perfect fidelity in return for faster encoding and smaller encoded videos [10]. Machine learning algorithms usually work with probabilistic models that capture some, but not all, aspects of phenomena that are difficult (if not impossible) to model with complete accuracy [2]. Monte-Carlo computations use random simulation to deliver inherently approximate solutions to complex systems of equations that are, in many cases, computationally infeasible to solve exactly [5].
    Proceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on Partial Evaluation and Program Manipulation, PEPM 2011, Austin, TX, USA, January 24-25, 2011; 01/2011
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    • "We have identified local computational patterns that interact well with loop perforation [24] [32] [25]. Examples include the Sum pattern (which computes the sum of a set of numbers) and the Argmin pattern (which computes the index and value of a minimum array element). "
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    ABSTRACT: Many modern computations (such as video and audio encoders, Monte Carlo simulations, and machine learning algorithms) are designed to trade off accuracy in return for increased performance. To date, such computations typically use ad-hoc, domain-specific techniques developed specifically for the computation at hand. Loop perforation provides a general technique to trade accuracy for performance by transforming loops to execute a subset of their iterations. A criticality testing phase filters out critical loops (whose perforation produces unacceptable behavior) to identify tunable loops (whose perforation produces more efficient and still acceptably accurate computations). A perforation space exploration algorithm perforates combinations of tunable loops to find Pareto-optimal perforation policies. Our results indicate that, for a range of applications, this approach typically delivers performance increases of over a factor of two (and up to a factor of seven) while changing the result that the application produces by less than 10%.
    SIGSOFT/FSE'11 19th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE-19) and ESEC'11: 13rd European Software Engineering Conference (ESEC-13), Szeged, Hungary, September 5-9, 2011; 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: We present QuickStep, a novel system for parallelizing sequential programs. Unlike standard parallelizing compilers (which are designed to preserve the semantics of the original sequential computation), QuickStep is instead designed to generate (potentially nondeterministic) parallel programs that produce acceptably accurate results acceptably often. The freedom to generate parallel programs whose output may differ (within statistical accuracy bounds) from the output of the sequential program enables a dramatic simplification of the compiler, a dramatic increase in the range of applications that it can parallelize, and a significant expansion in the range of parallel programs that it can legally generate. Results from our benchmark set of applications show that QuickStep can automatically generate acceptably accurate and efficient parallel programs---the automatically generated parallel versions of five of our six benchmark applications run between 5.0 and 7.8 times faster on eight cores than the original sequential versions. These applications and parallelizations contain features (such as the use of modern object-oriented programming constructs or desirable parallelizations with infrequent but acceptable data races) that place them inherently beyond the reach of standard approaches.
    ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems 09/2010; 12(2s). DOI:10.1145/2465787.2465790 · 0.47 Impact Factor
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