High Performance Computing with the Cell Broadband EngineView this Special Issue
Building High-Resolution Sky Images Using the Cell/B.E.
The performance potential of the Cell/B.E., as well as its availability, have attracted a lot of attention from various high-performance computing (HPC) fields. While computation intensive kernels proved to be exceptionally well suited for running on the Cell, irregular data-intensive applications are usually considered as poor matches. In this paper, we present our complete solution for enabling such a data-intensive application to run efficiently on the Cell/B.E. processor. Specifically, we target radioastronomy data gridding and degridding, two resembling imaging filters based on convolutional resampling. Our solution is based on building a high-level application model, used to evaluate parallelization alternatives. Next, we choose the one with the best performance potential, and we gradually exploit this potential by applying platform-specific and application-specific optimizations. After several iterations, our target application shows a speed-up factor between 10 and 20 on a dual-Cell blade when compared with the original application running on a commodity machine. Given these results, and based on our empirical observations, we are able to pinpoint a set of ten guidelines for parallelizing similar applications on the Cell/B.E. Finally, we conclude the Cell/B.E. can provide high performance for data-intensive applications at the price of increased programming efforts and with a significant aid from aggressive application-specific optimizations.