Paper at CASES 2015

"Timing characterization of OpenMP4 tasking model", 2015 International Conference on Compilers, Architecture and Synthesis for Embedded Systems, Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 2015

OpenMP is increasingly being supported by the newest high-end embedded many-core processors. Despite the lack of any notion of real-time execution, the latest specification of OpenMP (v4.0) introduces a tasking model that resembles the way real-time embedded applications are modeled and designed, i.e., as a set of periodic task graphs. This makes OpenMP4 a convenient candidate to be adopted in future real-time systems. However, OpenMP4 incorporates as well features to guarantee backward compatibility with previous versions that limit its practical usability in real-time systems. The most notable example is the distinction between tied and untied tasks. Tied tasks force all parts of a task to be executed on the same thread that started the execution, whereas a suspended untied task is allowed to resume execution on a different thread. Moreover, tied tasks are forbidden to be scheduled in threads in which other non-descendant tied tasks are suspended. As a result, the execution model of tied tasks, which is the default model in OpenMP to simplify the coexistence with legacy constructs, clearly restricts the performance and has serious implications on the response time analysis of OpenMP4 applications, making difficult to adopt it in real-time environments.
In this paper, we revisit OpenMP design choices, introducing timing predictability as a new and key metric of interest. Our first results confirm that even if tied tasks can be timing analyzed, the quality of the analysis is much worse than with untied tasks. We thus reason about the benefits of using untied tasks, deriving a response time analysis for this model, and so allowing OpenMP4 untied model to be applied to real-time systems.