The University of Arizona

David Lowenthal

Conductor: A Run-Time System for Exascale Computing

One of the critical problems---if not the critical problem---in reaching the exascale computing goal by the end of the decade is the power problem. Exascale systems have a target power constraint of 20 megawatts even though today's petascale systems---which have performance at least two orders of magnitude below prospective exascale systems---generally consume around 5 megawatts. Hardware improvements alone will not bridge this gap.

We are developing a run-time system called Conductor to address the power issue. The overall goal of Conductor is to produce near-optimal application performance under a prescribed power bound. Conductor carries this out by allocating power both between and within nodes. First, we are designing and implementing a new technique called power scheduling, which addresses the inter-node case. The second part of Conductor addresses the intra-node case with power gating, which allows powering off of individual components in a more fine-grain manner than is generally available in architectures today. Finally, we are investigating techniques to allow users to assist Conductor, through annotations, in achieving high performance in cases where power scheduling and power gating alone are not sufficient.

Conductor is essential to achieving exascale performance on nontrivial applications, and it will help push towards the exascale goal. Achieving exascale performance is an important national priority and will impact many application domains.


David Lowenthal

Graduate Students:
Tapasya Patki
Lee Savoie

Staci Smith


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant no. CNS-1216829. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.