NYNET communication system (NCS): A multithreaded message-passing system for ATM-based high-performance distributed computing environments

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Salim Hariri

Second Advisor

Carlos Hartmann


NYNET, Multithreaded, ATM-based, Distributed computing

Subject Categories

Computer Sciences


Current advances in processor technology and the rapid development of high-speed networking technology (e.g., Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Myrinet, and Fast Ethernet) have made network-based computing an attractive environment for large-scale, high-performance distributed computing (HPDC) applications. However, due to the communication overhead between computers and the inflexible communication architectures of parallel/distributed software tools, most HPDC applications do not fully utilize the benefits of high-speed communication networks. The high overhead can be mainly attributed to the high cost associated with system calls and context switching, redundant data copying during protocol processing, lack of support to overlap computation and communication at the application level, and tight coupling of data and control functions.

This dissertation presents an architecture, implementation, and performance evaluation of a multithreaded message-passing system for ATM-based HPDC environments that we refer to as NYNET (ATM wide-area network testbed in New York state) communication system (NCS). The NCS uses multithreading to provide efficient techniques for overlapping computation and communication. By separating control and data activities, NCS eliminates unnecessary control transfers over the data path. NCS supports several different flow-control algorithms, error-control algorithms, and multicasting algorithms. Furthermore, NCS allows programmers to select at runtime suitable communication schemes per-connection basis to meet the Quality of Service (QoS) requirements of a given application. NCS provides three application communication interfaces: socket communication interface (SCI), ATM communication interface (ACI), and high-performance interface (HPI) to support various classes of applications. The SCI is provided to support NCS portability to many different computing platforms. The ACI provides services that are compatible with ATM connection-oriented services where each connection can be configured to meet the QoS requirements of that connection, which allows programmers to fully utilize the benefits of the ATM network. The HPI supports applications that demand low-latency and high-throughput communication services. This interface uses read/write trap routines to reduce latency and data transfer time, and to avoid using traditional communication protocols.

We analyze and compare the performance of NCS with that of other message-passing systems such as p4, PVM, and MPI in terms of point-to-point, multicasting, and application performance. The benchmarking results show that NCS outperforms other message-passing systems and provides flexible communication services for various classes of applications.


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