Impact of virtual channels and adaptive routing on application performance

Aniruddha S. Vaidya, Anand Sivasubramaniam, Chita R. Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Research on multiprocessor interconnection networks has primarily focused on wormhole switching, virtual channel flow control, and routing algorithms to enhance their performance. The rationale behind this research is that by alleviating the network latency for high network loads, the overall system performance would improve. Many studies have used synthetic workloads to support this claim. However, such workloads may not necessarily capture the behavior of real applications. In this paper, we have used parallel applications for a closer examination of the network behavior. In particular, the performance benefit from enhancing a 2D mesh with virtual channels (VCs) and a fully adaptive routing algorithm is examined with a set of shared-memory and message passing applications. Execution time and average message latency of shared memory applications are measured using execution-driven simulation and by varying many architectural attributes that affect the network workload. The communication traces of message passing applications, collected on an IBM-SP2, are used to run a trace-driven simulation of the mesh architecture to obtain message latency. Simulation results show that VCs and adaptive routing can reduce the network latency to varying degrees depending on the application. However, these modest benefits do not translate to significant improvements in the overall execution time because the load on the network is not high enough to exploit the advantages of the network enhancements. Moreover, this benefit may be negated if the architectural enhancements increase the network cycle time. Rather, emphasis should be placed on improving the raw network bandwidth and faster network interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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