Space–Parallel Network Simulations Using Ghosts

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Riley, George F.
Jaafar, Talal Mohamed
Fujimoto, Richard M.
Ammar, Mostafa H.
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We discuss an approach for creating a federated network simulation that eases the burdens on the simulator user that typically arise from more traditional methods for defining space-parallel simulations. Previous approaches have difficulties that arise from the need for global topology knowledge when forwarding simulated packets between the federates. In all but the simplest cases, proper packet forwarding decisions between federates requires routing tables of size O(mn) (m is the number of nodes modeled in a particular simulator instance, and n is the total number of network nodes in the entire topology) in order to determine how packets should be routed between federates. Further, the benefits of the well-known NIx-Vector routing approach cannot be fully achieved without global knowledge of the overall topology. We seek to overcome these difficulties by utilizing a topology partitioning methodology that uses Ghost Nodes. A ghost node is a simulator object in a federate that represents a simulated network node that is spatially assigned to some other federate, and thus that other federate is responsible for maintaining all state associated with the node. However, ghost nodes do retain topology connectivity information with other nodes, allowing all federate in a space-parallel simulation to obtain a global picture of the network topology. We show with experimental results that the memory overhead associated with the ghosts is minimal relative to the overall memory footprint of the simulation.
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