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Institute for Computing Systems Architecture

Computer Architecture Simulation & Visualisation


ALgorithms, Architectures and MOdels of computation

Project Overview

The ALAMO project set out to address two of the four "Grand Challenge Problems in Computer Architecture" identified by the Purdue Workshop on Grand Challenges in Computer Architecture for the Support of High Performance Computing. These are: "to identify a small number of `fundamental' models of parallel computation that serve as a natural basis for programming languages and that facilitate high performance hardware implementations" and "to develop sufficient infrastructure to allow rapid prototyping of hardware ideas and the associated software in a way that permits realistic evaluation."

Our aim was to combine work on these two Grand Challenges, using Heywood's H-PRAM as the bridging model of parallel computation and our Hierarchical Architecture Design and Simulation Environment (HASE) as the `prototyping infrastructure'. We have devised and refined strategies for implementing the H-PRAM on a physical mesh architecture and have investigated these strategies both theoretically and practically, through simulation.

In order to be able to undertake these simulation we have designed and implemented a Hierarchical Architecture design and Simulation Environment (HASE) which is itself a response to the "infrastructure" grand challenge. HASE has also been used in a variety of other projects and a Java version, simjava, is also available.

The H-PRAM successfully outperformed the PRAM by a factor which was small but significant (2 to 3 for the sizes of mesh (typically 1024) we were able to simulate) and which, importantly, was clearly growing with the number of processors involved, thereby demonstrating improved scalability.

The ALAMO Project was funded by EPSRC under Grant GR/J43295 and ran from August 1994 to February 1997. Further details can be found in the ALAMO Final Report Summary


Selected Publications

R.N. Ibbett, T. Heywood, M.I. Cole, R.J. Pooley, P. Thanisch, N.P. Topham, G. Chochia, P.S. Coe, P.E. Heywood, Algorithms, Architectures and Models of Computation (postscript), University of Edinburgh, Technical Report, ECS-CSG-22-96.

R.N. Ibbett, P.E. Heywood and F.W. Howell "HASE: A Flexible Toolset for Computer Architects", The Computer Journal, Vol 38, (10), 1996.

P. Heywood, P. Thanisch and R. Pooley "Object-Oriented Database Technology for Simulation Environments", Proceedings UKSS '95, Vol 2, North Berwick, April 1995.

R. McNab and F.W. Howell, "Using Java for Discrete Event Simulation", Proc. 12th UK Computer and Telecommunications Performance Engineering Workshop, Edinburgh, 1996.

G. Chochia, M.I. Cole, and T. Heywood, "Implementing the Hierarchical PRAM on the 2D Mesh: Analyses and Experiments", Proc. 7th IEEE Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Processing, San Antonio, 1995.

G. Chochia, M.I. Cole, and T. Heywood, "Lower Bounds on Average Time for Random Destination Mesh Routing and Their Utility as Performance Predictors for PRAM Simulation", Proc. First Workshop on Randomized Parallel Computing, at the International Parallel Processing Symposium, Hawaii, 1996.

G. Chochia, "Recursive 3D Mesh Indexing with Improved Locality", to appear in HPCN '97.

G. Chochia, M.I. Cole, and T. Heywood, "Synchronization of Arbitrary Processor Groups in 2-D Dynamically Partitioned Mesh Architectures", University of Edinburgh, Technical Report, ECS-CSG-25-96, 1996.

G. Chochia, M.I. Cole, and T. Heywood, "Experimental Comparison of the H-PRAM and PRAM models", in preparation.

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HASE Project
Institute for Computing Systems Architecture, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Last change 3/04/2003

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