Data Vortex Network

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What is the Data Vortex Network?

The Data Vortex network is a self-routing dynamical system that eliminates the setting problem and is scalable due to small packets in a congestion-free network. It is not possible to achieve this using a crossbar-based network. The Data Vortex solution solves this problem by enabling a scalable, fine-grained parallel computer with high bandwidth, and low latency. 

What are small packets good for?

  • Active Messaging
  • Sparse linear algebra
  • Big Data Graph Analytics
  • GUPs
  • Branching Algorithms
  • All algorithms that require either massive data movement,
    short packet movement, or non-deterministic data movement

Switch Operation

  • Data Vortex topology is based on rings arranged in levels. One ring on the top level, two rings on the next level down, and r rings on the bottom level where r is the radix of the switch.
  • There is a collection of busses to carry data between the levels. These busses are arranged in such a way as to minimize contention.
  • The logic of the network consists of decisions to stay on a ring or travel between rings.
  • Data can flow out of a switch output port at a much higher rate than the injection rate enabling congestion free routing.
  • The logic decisions are based on routing information in the packet header. There are no global switch controllers. The switch control logic time is hidden under the message passing.

For a large class of important problems, crossbar networks spend most of the time controlling the switches.  The time spent in crossbar controller logic is the cause of the S-curves that result in the need for large packets (see Performance tab for visual representation). The large packets are the cause for poor performance for key scientific applications and extremely poor performance for active messaging and asynchronous computing.

The above figure depicts the latencies at different evenly distributed traffic loads on a radix 64 switch implement in an Altera Stratix 5 FPGA.

An Orchestra of Beautiful Data Movement

"The intricate animation below of the Data Vortex topology  is complemented with George Frideric's Handel’s Water Music. Handel premiered the orchestral piece on 17 July 1717 in a floating concert on the River Thames for King George I of Great Britain and his retinue.  The Water Music and the Data Vortex are equally beautiful: one a musical representation of water's flow, the other a mathematical system born of fluid dynamics."

- Dr. Coke S. Reed, Inventor of the Data Vortex