Supporting the Development of Soft-Error Resilient Message Passing Applications Using Simulation

Christian Engelmann and Thomas Naughton


high-performance computing, fault tolerance, parallel discrete event simulation, fault injection


Radiation-induced bit flip faults are of particular concern in extreme-scale high-performance computing systems. This paper presents a simulation-based tool that enables the development of soft-error resilient message passing applications by permitting the investigation of their correctness and performance under various fault conditions. The documented extensions to the Extreme-scale Simulator (xSim) enable the injection of bit flip faults at specific of injection location(s) and fault activation time(s), while supporting a significant degree of configurability of the fault type. Experiments show that the simulation overhead with the new feature is ~2,325% for serial execution and ~1,730% at 128 MPI processes, both with very fine-grain fault injection. Fault injection experiments demonstrate the usefulness of the new feature by injecting bit flips in the input and output matrices of a matrix-matrix multiply application, revealing vulnerability of data structures, masking and error propagation. xSim is the very first simulation-based MPI performance tool that supports both, the injection of process failures and bit flip faults.

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