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Re: OCaml is broken
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Date: -- (:)
From: orbitz@e...
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: OCaml is broken

On Dec 20, 2009, at 8:08 PM, Gerd Stolpmann wrote:

>> The following web page describes a commercial machine sold by Azul  
>> Systems
>> that has up to 16 54-core CPUs (=864 cores) and 768 GB of memory in  
>> a flat
>> SMP configuration:
>>
>>  http://www.azulsystems.com/products/compute_appliance.htm
>>
>> As you can see, a GC with shared memory can already scale across  
>> dozens of
>> cores and memory access is no more heterogeneous than it was 20  
>> years ago.
>> Also, note that homogeneous memory access is a red herring in this  
>> context
>> because it does not undermine the utility of a shared heap on a  
>> multicore.
>
> The benchmarks they mention can all easily be parallelized - that  
> stuff
> you can also do with multi-processing. The interesting thing would  
> be an
> inherent parallel algorithm where the same memory region is accessed  
> by
> multiple threads. Or at least a numeric program (your examples seem to
> be mostly from that area).

I'm not sure if it is relevant here, but it should be noted that a lot  
of the performance gains Azul gets is because they have built their  
own chips that do a lot of tricks for you under the hood.  Last I used  
an Azul Appliance, they perform quite poorly if you are hitting the  
same memory often from multiple threads (the machine I used was about  
4x slower than an equivalent Intel machine for a single core).  If the  
Azul tricks make it into desktop processors, that would likely be  
pretty great.

Also, for what it's worth, lots of cores have actually been less  
performant in the type of computing I currently do.  We want less  
cores and more physical boxes, making multiple processes running  
single threads a better solution for us.  We tend to become memory IO  
bound by multiple cores (the bus cannot keep up with us).  We are  
processing lots of biological data.  For the record we are not using  
Ocaml for our project, just an observation of what model works well  
for us.