The single-thread performance improvement of processors has been sluggish for the past decade as Dennard’s scaling is approaching its fundamental physical limit. Thus, the importance of efficiently running applications on a parallel/distributed computer system has continued to increase and diverse applications based on parallel/distributed computing models such as MapReduce and MPI have thrived. In a parallel/distributed computing system, the complex interplay amongst processor, node, and network architectures strongly affects the performance and power efficiency of a parallel/distributed computer system. In particular, we observe that all the hardware and software aspects of network, which encompasses interface technology, switch/router capability, link bandwidth, topology, traffic patterns, protocols, etc., significantly impact the processor and node activities.
Therefore, to maximize performance and power efficiency of a parallel/distributed computer system, it is critical to develop various optimization strategies cutting across processor, node, and network architectures, as well as their software stacks, necessitating full-system simulation.

However, our community lacks a proper research infrastructure to study the interplay of these subsystems. Facing such a challenge, we recently developed a gem5-based simulation infrastructure dubbed dist-gem5 to support full-system simulation of a parallel/distributed computer system using multiple simulation host.

To get started with dist-gem5, please visit Getting Started tab.