Coalescing Executions for Fast Uncertainty Analysis

William Sumner, Tao Bao, Xiangyu Zhang, and Sunil Prabhakar
Purdue University, USA
Web Surfing

Uncertain data processing is critical in a wide range of applications such as scientific computation handling data with inevitable errors and financial decision making relying on human provided parameters. While increasingly studied in the area of databases, uncertain data processing is often carried out by software, and thus software based solutions are attractive. In particular, Monte Carlo (MC) methods execute software with many samples from the uncertain inputs and observe the statistical behavior of the output. In this paper, we propose a technique to improve the cost-effectiveness of MC methods. Assuming only part of the input is uncertain, the certain part of the input always leads to the same execution across multiple sample runs. We remove such redundancy by coalescing multiple sample runs in a single run. In the coalesced run, the program operates on a vector of values if uncertainty is present and a single value otherwise. We handle cases where control flow and pointers are uncertain. Our results show that we can speed up the execution time of 30 sample runs by an average factor of 2.3 without precision lost or by up to 3.4 with negligible precision lost.