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Addressing Load Imbalance in Bioinformatics and Biomedical Applications: Efficient Scheduling across Multiple GPUs

by Mathialakan Thavappiragasam, Vivek Kale, Oscar Hernandez, Ada A Sedova
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM)
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1992 to 1999
Conference Name
IEEE BIBM 2021 - High Performance Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (HiBB-2021)
Conference Location
Virtual conference, Tennessee, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

Computational bioinformatics and biomedical applications frequently contain heterogeneously sized units of work or tasks, for instance due to variability in the sizes of biological sequences and molecules. Variable-sized workloads lead to load imbalances in parallel implementations which detract from efficiency and performance. Many modern computing resources now have multiple graphics processing units(GPUs) per computer for acceleration. These multiple GPU resources need to be used efficiently through balancing of workloads across the GPUs. OpenMP is a portable directive-based parallel programming API used ubiquitously in bioscience applications to program CPUs; recently, the use of OpenMP directives for GPU acceleration has become possible. Here, motivated by experiences with imbalanced loads in GPU-accelerated bioinformatics applications, we address the load balancing problem using OpenMP task-to-GPU scheduling combined with OpenMP GPU offloading for multiply heterogeneous workloads – loads with both variable input sizes, and simultaneously, variable convergence rates for algorithms with a stochastic component – scheduled across multiple GPUs. We aim to develop strategies which are both easy to use and have lower overheads, and may be incorporated incrementally in existing programs which already make use of OpenMP for CPU-based threading in order to make use of multi-GPU computers. We test different combinations of input size variability and convergence rate variability, and characterize the effects of these different scenarios on the performance of scheduling strategies across multiple GPUs with OpenMP. We present several dynamic scheduling solutions for different parallel patterns, explore optimizations, and provide publicly available example computational kernels to make these strategies easy to use in programs. This work will enable application developers to efficiently and easily use multiple GPUs for imbalanced workloads found in bioinformatics and biomedical applications.