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Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics

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Large scale clusters leveraging distributed computing frameworks such as MapReduce routinely process data that are on the orders of petabytes or more. The sheer size of the data precludes the processing of the data on a single computer. The philosophy in these methods is to partition the overall job into smaller tasks that are executed on different servers; this is called the map phase. This is followed by a data shuffling phase where appropriate data is exchanged between the servers. The final so-called reduce phase, completes the computation.

One potential approach, explored in prior work for reducing the overall execution time is to operate on a natural tradeoff between computation and communication. Specifically, the idea is to run redundant copies of map tasks that are placed on judiciously chosen servers. The shuffle phase exploits the location of the nodes and utilizes coded transmission. The main drawback of this approach is that it requires the original job to be split into a number of map tasks that grows exponentially in the system parameters. This is problematic, as we demonstrate that splitting jobs too finely can in fact adversely affect the overall execution time.
In this work we show that one can simultaneously obtain low communication loads while ensuring that jobs do not need to be split too finely. Our approach uncovers a deep relationship between this problem and a class of combinatorial structures called resolvable designs. Appropriate interpretation of resolvable designs can allow for the development of coded distributed computing schemes where the splitting levels are exponentially lower than prior work. We present experimental results obtained on Amazon EC2 clusters for a widely known distributed algorithm, namely TeraSort. We obtain over 4.69× improvement in speedup over the baseline approach and more than 2.6× over current state of the art.


This is a manuscript of Konstantinidis, K., & Ramamoorthy, A. (2018). Leveraging Coding Techniques for Speeding up Distributed Computing. arXiv preprint arXiv:1802.03049. Posted with permission.

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