An Integrated Simulation Environment for Parallel and Distributed System PrototypingThe process of designing parallel and distributed computer systems requires predicting performance in response to given workloads. The scope and interaction of applications, operating systems, communication networks, processors, and other hardware and software lead to substantial system complexity. Development of virtual prototypes in lieu of physical prototypes can result in tremendous savings, especially when created in concert with a powerful model development tool. When high-fidelity models of parallel architectures are coupled with workloads generated from real parallel application code in an execution-driven simulation, the result is a potent design and analysis tool for parallel hardware and software alike. This paper introduces the concepts, mechanisms, and results of an Integrated Simulation Environment (ISE) that makes possible the rapid virtual prototyping and profiling of legacy and prototype parallel processing algorithms, architectures, and systems using a networked cluster of workstations. Performance results of virtual prototypes in ISE are shown to faithfully represent those of an equivalent hardware configuration, and the benefits of ISE for predicted performance comparisons are illustrated by a case study.
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