Scalable system scheduling for HPC and big data

Albert Reuther, Chansup Byun, William Arcand, David Bestor, Bill Bergeron, Matthew Hubbell, Michael Jones, Peter Michaleas, Andrew Prout, Antonio Rosa, Jeremy Kepner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


In the rapidly expanding field of parallel processing, job schedulers are the “operating systems” of modern big data architectures and supercomputing systems. Job schedulers allocate computing resources and control the execution of processes on those resources. Historically, job schedulers were the domain of supercomputers, and job schedulers were designed to run massive, long-running computations over days and weeks. More recently, big data workloads have created a need for a new class of computations consisting of many short computations taking seconds or minutes that process enormous quantities of data. For both supercomputers and big data systems, the efficiency of the job scheduler represents a fundamental limit on the efficiency of the system. Detailed measurement and modeling of the performance of schedulers are critical for maximizing the performance of a large-scale computing system. This paper presents a detailed feature analysis of 15 supercomputing and big data schedulers. For big data workloads, the scheduler latency is the most important performance characteristic of the scheduler. A theoretical model of the latency of these schedulers is developed and used to design experiments targeted at measuring scheduler latency. Detailed benchmarking of four of the most popular schedulers (Slurm, Son of Grid Engine, Mesos, and Hadoop YARN) is conducted. The theoretical model is compared with data and demonstrates that scheduler performance can be characterized by two key parameters: the marginal latency of the scheduler ts and a nonlinear exponent αs. For all four schedulers, the utilization of the computing system decreases to <10% for computations lasting only a few seconds. Multi-level schedulers (such as LLMapReduce) that transparently aggregate short computations can improve utilization for these short computations to >90% for all four of the schedulers that were tested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-92
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Parallel and Distributed Computing
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Data analytics
  • High performance computing
  • Job scheduler
  • Resource manager
  • Scheduler


Dive into the research topics of 'Scalable system scheduling for HPC and big data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this