A General Theory of Computational Scalability Based on Rational Functions

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Gunther, Neil J.
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Abstract
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The universal scalability law of computational capacity is a rational function C_p = P(p)/Q(p) with P(p) a linear polynomial and Q(p) a second-degree polynomial in the number of physical processors p, that has been long used for statistical modeling and prediction of computer system performance. We prove that C_p is equivalent to the synchronous throughput bound for a machine-repairman with state-dependent service rate. Simpler rational functions, such as Amdahl's law and Gustafson speedup, are corollaries of this queue-theoretic bound. C_p is further shown to be both necessary and sufficient for modeling all practical characteristics of computational scalability.
Comment: 14 pages, 5 figures; several typos corrected, 1 reference updated, page number reduced with 10 pt font
Keywords
Computer Science - Performance, Computer Science - Distributed, Parallel, and Cluster Computing, B.8, C.4, C.5.5, D.4.8, F.1.2
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