The performance growth of cyberinfrastructure systems, such as supercomputers and computing data centers, is important to US economy and well-being; it helps boost scientific and engineering productivity, which is vital for US global competitiveness and helps grow the US digital economy, which is an important part of overall US economy. Until recently, Moore’s Law guided the exponential growth of hardware resources under the same cost and has been a key driving factor behind cyberinfrastructure performance growth. As the growth predicted by Moore’s Law slows down, sustaining performance gains requires cyberinfrastructure to maximize the utilization of its available hardware resources, especially computing memory. Currently, cyberinfrastructure systems often only utilize up to a small fraction of their memory compared to what is physically and/or theoretically possible. As memory primarily serves as a performance enhancer, memory under-utilization causes under-performance and unnecessary investment in additional computing resources. This project seems to address this problem by identifying ways to better use memory resources in supercomputers and cloud computing systems, thereby increasing the efficiency and performance of these systems. The project, MemMax, actively involves both graduate and undergraduate students, along with outreach to K-12 students.

MemMaX explores how to co-design CPU and OS to maximize memory utilization in cyberinfrastructure systems to boost their performance both user-transparently and substantially by a factor of up to 4. MemMax consists of two research thrusts, one targeting HPC systems and targeting cloud systems, as these two types of systems have different causes for their memory underutilization. The research methodology consists of real-system measurements to characterize the behavior of existing systems, hardware prototyping to valid the functional correctness of MemMax, and architectural simulations to quantify the performance improvement MemMax achieves.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Detailed Award Information

Award Information:
Title: CAREER: MemMax: Maximizing Cyberinfrastructure Memory Utilization via Hardware Acceleration for OS-level Memory Utilization Management
ID: 1942590
Effective Date: 05/01/2020
Expiration Date: 04/30/2025
Amount: $517,101

Institution Information:
Name: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
City: Blacksburg
State: VA
Country: United States
MSI: Other Institution

Investigator Information:
Role Code: Principal Investigator
Name: Xun Jian
Email Address:

Organization Information:
Directorate: 4900
Division: NSF

Program Information:
Code: 4900
Text: Software & Hardware Foundation