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A Framework for Adaptive Routing in Multicomputer Networks


Ngai, John Yee-Keung (1989) A Framework for Adaptive Routing in Multicomputer Networks. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/a01h-0z81.


Message-passing concurrent computers, also known as multicomputers, such as the Caltech Cosmic Cube [47] and its commercial descendents, consist of many computing nodes that interact with each other by sending and receiving messages over communication channels between the nodes. The communication networks of the second-generation machines, such as the Symult Series 2010 and the Intel iPSC2 [2], employ an oblivious wormhole-routing technique that guarantees deadlock freedom. The network performance of this highly evolved oblivious technique has reached a limit of being capable of delivering, under random traffic, a stable maximum sustained throughput of ≈ 45 to 50% of the limit set by the network bisection bandwidth, while maintaining acceptable network latency. This thesis examines the possibility of performing adaptive routing as an approach to further improving upon the performance and reliability of these networks. In an adaptive multipath routing scheme, message trajectories are no longer deterministic, but are continuously perturbed by local message loading. Message packets will tend to follow their shortest-distance routes to destinations in normal traffic loading, but can be detoured to longer but less-loaded routes as local congestion occurs.

A simple adaptive cut-through packet-switching framework is described, and a number of fundamental issues concerning the theoretical feasibility of the adaptive approach are studied. Freedom of communication deadlock is achieved by following a coherent channel protocol and by applying voluntary misrouting as needed. Packet deliveries are assured by resolving channel-access conflicts according to a priority assignment. Fairness of network access is assured either by sending round-trip packets or by having each node follow a local injection-synchronization protocol.

The performance behavior of the proposed adaptive cut-through framework is studied with stochastic modeling and analysis, as well as through extensive simulation experiments for the 2D and 3D rectilinear networks. Theoretical bounds on various average network-performance metrics are derived for these rectilinear networks. These bounds provide a standard frame of reference for interpreting the performance results.

In addition to the potential gain in network performance, the adaptive approach offers the potential for exploiting the inherent path redundancy found in richly connected networks in order to perform fault-tolerant routing. Two convexity-related notions are introduced to characterize the conditions under which our adaptive routing formulation is adequate to provide fault-tolerant routing, with minimal change in routing hardware. The effectiveness of these notions is studied through extensive simulations. The 2D octagonal-mesh network is suggested; this displays excellent fault-tolerant potential under the adaptive routing framework. Both performance and reliability behaviors of the octagonal mesh are studied in detail.

A number of implementation issues are examined. Encoding schemes for packet headers that admit simple incremental updates while providing all necessary routing information in the first flit of a relatively narrow flit width are developed. A pipelined control structure that allows a packet to cut through an intermediate node with a minimum delay of two cycles is described. A distributed clocking scheme is developed that eliminates the problem of global clock-signal distribution. Under this clocking scheme, the adaptive routers can be tessellated to form a network of arbitrary size.

[2] W.C. Athas and C.L. Seitz., "Multicomputers: Message-Passing Concurrent Computers," IEEE Computer, August 1988, pp. 9-24.

[47] C.L. Seitz, "The Cosmic Cube," CACM, Vol. 28, No. 1, January 1985, pp. 22-33.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Computer Science
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Seitz, Charles L.
Thesis Committee:
  • Seitz, Charles L. (chair)
  • Martin, Alain J.
  • Posner, Edward C.
  • Franklin, Joel N.
  • Chandy, K. Mani
Defense Date:17 May 1989
Additional Information:Also published as Caltech Computer Science Technical Reports 1989-09
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-87-K-0745
Intel Scientific ComputersUNSPECIFIED
Ametek Computer Research DivisionUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-02132007-153533
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemCaltech Computer Science Technical Report 1989-09
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:630
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:13 Mar 2007
Last Modified:17 Sep 2021 20:01

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