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Scheduling Strategy

There are 4 main strategies for a fine-grained distributed dynamic task scheduling:

  • Work-stealing. That's a reactive asynchronous strategy. The essence: when a thread is out work, it randomly chooses a victim thread and asynchronously tries to steal some work from it.

  • Work-requesting. That's a reactive synchronous strategy. The essence: when a thread is out of work, it randomly chooses a victim thread and sends a synchronous request to it; the victim receives the request, and sends some work back (if any).

  • Work-distribution. That's a proactive synchronous strategy. The essence: during submission of a new work, it's divided and proactively distributed to some threads (idle or lightly loaded).

  • Work-balancing. That's a proactive asynchronous strategy. The essence: dedicated thread (or potentially one of the worker threads) periodically collects information about load of all worker thread, then calculates optimal distribution of work, and then re-distributes work among them.

It's worth noting that a scheduler may employ several (or even all of the) above strategies. Reactive strategies (stealing and requesting) deal with inevitable dynamic load imbalance; but usually have very limited local information about a system's state, so make sub-optimal decisions. Proactive strategies (distribution and balancing), on the other hand, have information about a system's state, so make one-shot optimal scheduling decisions; but unable to cope with inevitable dynamic load imbalance.

A scheduler must employ at least one of the reactive strategies in order to cope with continuous and inevitable dynamic load imbalance, and optionally include one or both proactive strategies in order to cut down stealing/requesting costs. So, the general recipe for a scheduler is:

SCHEDULER = (STEALING ^ REQUESTING) [+DISTRIBUTION] [+BALANCING]


Move on to Work-Stealing vs. Work-Requesting
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