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Experiences of using the OpenMP accelerator model to port DOE stencil applications

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The Department of Energy has a wide range of large-scale, parallel scientific applications running on cutting-edge high-performance computing systems to support its mission and tackle critical science challenges. A recent trend in these high-performance computing systems is to add commodity accelerators, such as Nvidia GPUs and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, into computer nodes so we can achieve increased performance without exceeding the limited power budget. However, it is well-known in the high-performance computing community that porting existing applications to accelerators is a difficult task given the numerous set of unique hardware features and the general complexity of software. In this paper, we share our experiences of using the OpenMP Accelerator Model to port two stencil applications to exploit Nvidia GPUs. Introduced as part of the OpenMP 4.0 specification, the OpenMP accelerator model provides a set of directives for users to specify semantics related to accelerators so that compilers and runtime systems can automatically handle repetitive and error-prone accelerator programming tasks, including code transformations, work scheduling, data management, reduction, and so on. Using a prototype compiler implementation based on the ROSE source-to-source compiler framework, we report the problems we encountered during the porting process, our solutions, and the obtained performance. Productivity is also evaluated. Our experience shows that the existing OpenMP Accelerator Model can effectively help programmers leverage accelerators. However, complex data types and non-canonical control structures can pose challenges for programmers to productively apply accelerator directives.




Lin, P. H., Liao, C., Quinlan, D. J., & Guzik, S. (2015). Experiences of using the OpenMP accelerator model to port DOE stencil applications. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 9342, pp. 45–59). Springer Verlag.

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