Article

HPC-GAP: engineering a 21st-century high-performance computer algebra system

Citation

Behrends R, Hammond K, Janjic V, Konovalov A, Linton S, Loidl H, Maier P & Trinder P (2016) HPC-GAP: engineering a 21st-century high-performance computer algebra system. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, 28 (13), pp. 3606-3636. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpe.3746

Abstract
Symbolic computation has underpinned a number of key advances in Mathematics and Computer Science. Applications are typically large and potentially highly parallel, making them good candidates for parallel execution at a variety of scales from multi‐core to high‐performance computing systems. However, much existing work on parallel computing is based around numeric rather than symbolic computations. In particular, symbolic computing presents particular problems in terms of varying granularity and irregular task sizes that do not match conventional approaches to parallelisation. It also presents problems in terms of the structure of the algorithms and data. This paper describes a new implementation of the free open‐source GAP computational algebra system that places parallelism at the heart of the design, dealing with the key scalability and cross‐platform portability problems. We provide three system layers that deal with the three most important classes of hardware: individual shared memory multi‐core nodes, mid‐scale distributed clusters of (multi‐core) nodes and full‐blown high‐performance computing systems, comprising large‐scale tightly connected networks of multi‐core nodes. This requires us to develop new cross‐layer programming abstractions in the form of new domain‐specific skeletons that allow us to seamlessly target different hardware levels. Our results show that, using our approach, we can achieve good scalability and speedups for two realistic exemplars, on high‐performance systems comprising up to 32000 cores, as well as on ubiquitous multi‐core systems and distributed clusters. The work reported here paves the way towards full‐scale exploitation of symbolic computation by high‐performance computing systems, and we demonstrate the potential with two major case studies. © 2016 The Authors. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords
parallelism; multicore; high-performance computing; computational algebra

Journal
Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience: Volume 28, Issue 13

StatusPublished
FundersEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, European Commission, European Commission and European Commission
Publication date30/09/2016
Publication date online31/01/2016
Date accepted by journal02/11/2015
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/30033
PublisherWiley
ISSN1532-0626