The ability to understand the factors contributing to parallel program
performance are vital for understanding the impact of machine parameters
on the performance of specific applications. We propose a methodology
for analyzing the performance characteristics of parallel programs based on
message-passing traces of their execution on a set of processors.
Using this methodology, we explore how perturbations in both single
processor performance and the messaging layer impact the performance of the
traced run. This analysis provides a quantitative description of the
sensitivity of applications to a variety of performance parameters to
better understand the range of systems upon which an application can
be expected to perform well. These performance parameters include
operating system interference and variability in message latencies within
the interconnection network layer.