October 28, 2023

Proxy Applications for Converged Workloads: DMC LDRD Initiative


Modern scientific applications are complicated and require coordination of several components. Proxy application driven software-hardware co-design plays a vital role in driving innovation among the developments of applications, software infrastructure and hardware architecture. Proxy applications are self-contained and simplified codes that are intended to model the performance-critical computations within applications. Applications executing on modern High Performance Computing (HPC) systems are susceptible to network congestion, insufficient memory bandwidth within and across compute nodes, and inadvertent loss of performance due to bugs and unoptimized programming models. Modern numerical simulations and machine learning models play a critical role in studying physical phenomenon under myriad uncertainties. Such applications often exhibit irregular computation and memory accesses at specific regions of the application code, which can contribute to various performance bottlenecks at scale. To mitigate such issues and prepare the next generation hardware for a variety of computation and data movement contingencies, a well-known practice is to consider "proxy" applications as representative motifs for various classes of scientific applications. While there is disagreement in the HPC community on the mechanisms of construction of the proxy applications, there is a strong consensus on their positive impact in co-design. Proxy Applications for Converged Workloads (PACER) is about facilitating software-hardware co-design through proxy applications with the goal of improving the performance of converged science workflows on heterogeneous systems.

Published: October 28, 2023


Ghosh S., M. Jain, H. Lee, and K.J. Roche. 2023. Proxy Applications for Converged Workloads: DMC LDRD Initiative Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.