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18.3.1 The Basic Simulation Structure

The basic structure of the simulation-first called Simulation87-is shown in Figure 18.9. Here, an otherwise monolithic hypercube is subdivided into subcubes, each containing a data-parallel subapplication of typically synchronous character. Shown in this early and greatly simplified view are

Figure 18.9: Basic Simulation87 Structure

The details of each module are not important for our discussions here. What is pertinent is that each involves a substantial computation that runs on a parallel machine using standard data-parallel techniques. The intermodule communications take place over the normal hypercube communications channels in a (rather low-fidelity) emulation of the communications necessary in the real-world system. The execution of the simulation as a whole can then exploit two classes of parallelism: the multiple modules or functions execute concurrently and each function is itself a data-parallel process. Load balancing is done on a coarse level as shown by the size of the subcube allocations to each function. Emphasis was also placed on communicating information to graphics workstations that helped visualize and interpret the progress of the simulation.

This is a rather general structure for an emerging class of simulation that seeks to model large-scale system performance and employ elements both of pure computer simulation and this relatively unique element of emulation.

Guy Robinson
Wed Mar 1 10:19:35 EST 1995