11.7 DESIGN SPACE EXPLORATION: CHOICE OF BROADCASTING VERSUS PIPELINING VARIABLES

At this point, we know we have three variables, M_{1}, M_{2}, and M_{3}, for our matrix multiplication algorithm. We have a choice whether to broadcast or to pipeline each variable. Thus, we have eight different possible design choices for the implementation of our algorithm. Some of these choices might not be feasible though. In what follows, we show only one of those choices, but the reader can explore the other choices following the same techniques we provide here.

Broadcasting an output variable means performing all the calculations necessary to produce it at the same time. It is not recommended to broadcast output variables since this would result in a slower system that requires gathering all the partial outputs and somehow using them to produce the output value. To summarize, if v is an input variable, all points in B potentially use the same value of v. If v is an output variable, all points in B are potentially used to produce v.

Broadcasting an input variable means making a copy available to all processors at the same time. This usually results in the algorithm completing sooner. It is always preferable to broadcast input variables since this only costs using buses to distribute the variables. Data broadcast could be accomplished in hardware using a system-wide bus or an interconnection network capable of broadcasting a single data item to all the processing elements (PEs). In software, data broadcast ...

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