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Subject: Re: [OMPI devel] Open-MPI build of NAMD launched from srun over 20% slowed than with mpirun
From: Joshua Ladd (joshual_at_[hidden])
Date: 2013-07-23 05:34:15

Hi, Chris

Funny you should mention this now. We identified and diagnosed the issue some time ago as a combination of SLURM's PMI1 implementation and some of, what I'll call, OMPI's topology requirements (probably not the right word.) Here's what is happening, in a nutshell, when you launch with srun:

1. Each process pushes his endpoint data up to the PMI "cloud" via PMI put (I think it's about five or six puts, bottom line, O(1).)
2. Then executes a PMI commit and PMI barrier to ensure all other processes have finished committing their data to the "cloud".
3. Subsequent to this, each process executes O(N) (N is the number of procs in the job) PMI gets in order to get all of the endpoint data for every process regardless of whether or not the process communicates with that endpoint.

"We" (MLNX et al.) undertook an in-depth scaling study of this and identified several poorly scaling pieces with the worst offenders being:

1. PMI Barrier scales worse than linear.
2. At scale, the PMI get phase starts to look quadratic.

The proposed solution that "we" (OMPI + SLURM) have come up with is to modify OMPI to support PMI2 and to use SLURM 2.6 which has support for PMI2 and is (allegedly) much more scalable than PMI1. Several folks in the combined communities are working hard, as we speak, trying to get this functional to see if it indeed makes a difference. Stay tuned, Chris. Hopefully we will have some data by the end of the week.

Best regards,


Joshua S. Ladd, PhD
HPC Algorithms Engineer
Mellanox Technologies

Email: joshual_at_[hidden]
Cell: +1 (865) 258 - 8898

-----Original Message-----
From: devel-bounces_at_[hidden] [mailto:devel-bounces_at_[hidden]] On Behalf Of Christopher Samuel
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:06 AM
To: slurm-dev; Open MPI Developers
Subject: [OMPI devel] Open-MPI build of NAMD launched from srun over 20% slowed than with mpirun

Hash: SHA1

Hi there slurm-dev and OMPI devel lists,

Bringing up a new IBM SandyBridge cluster I'm running a NAMD test case and noticed that if I run it with srun rather than mpirun it goes over 20% slower. These are all launched from an sbatch script too.

Slurm 2.6.0, RHEL 6.4 (latest kernel), FDR IB.

Here are some timings as reported as the WallClock time by NAMD itself (so not including startup/tear down overhead from Slurm).


run1/slurm-93744.out:WallClock: 695.079773 CPUTime: 695.079773
run4/slurm-94011.out:WallClock: 723.907959 CPUTime: 723.907959
run5/slurm-94013.out:WallClock: 726.156799 CPUTime: 726.156799
run6/slurm-94017.out:WallClock: 724.828918 CPUTime: 724.828918

Average of 692 seconds


run2/slurm-93746.out:WallClock: 559.311035 CPUTime: 559.311035
run3/slurm-93910.out:WallClock: 544.116333 CPUTime: 544.116333
run7/slurm-94019.out:WallClock: 586.072693 CPUTime: 586.072693

Average of 563 seconds.

So that's about 23% slower.

Everything is identical (they're all symlinks to the same golden
master) *except* for the srun / mpirun which is modified by copying the batch script and substituting mpirun for srun.

When they are running I can see that for jobs launched with srun they are direct children of slurmstepd whereas when started with mpirun they are children of Open-MPI's orted (or mpirun on the launch node) which itself is a child of slurmstepd.

Has anyone else seen anything like this, or got any ideas?

- --
 Christopher Samuel Senior Systems Administrator
 VLSCI - Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative
 Email: samuel_at_[hidden] Phone: +61 (0)3 903 55545

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