Palix Technologies launches ANDSolver beta program

March 23rd, 2010

Palix Technologies has introduced a new Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) product called ANDSolver that has been designed from the ground up to use Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) for fast and efficient aerodynamic analysis. Although developing and running applications to use multiple CPUs is a well established practice for high performance science and engineering simulations, a newer trend towards using GPUs for computation promises faster results with lower hardware acquisition and operating costs. ANDSolver delivers on that promise with up to a 10x speedup compared to a typical quad core CPU. This level of performance is unique in that it is achieved on unstructured meshes which have traditionally not been considered amenable to GPUs because of the memory access patterns. However, based on an innovative algorithm design to maximize the performance of the NVIDIA CUDA architecture, the ease and flexibility of unstructured meshing can now be used on high-performance, cost-effective GPUs.

A limited number of additional registrants will be accepted prior to our first production release in Q2 2010. More information can be found at for our current beta testing program.

Accelerating MATLAB Image Processing Toolbox Functions on GPUs

March 23rd, 2010


We present our effort in developing an open-source GPU (graphics processing units) code library for the MATLAB Image Processing Toolbox (IPT). We ported a dozen of representative functions from IPT and based on their inherent characteristics, we grouped these functions into four categories: data independent, data sharing, algorithm dependent and data dependent. For each category, we present a detailed case study, which reveals interesting insights on how to efficiently optimize the code for GPUs and highlight performance-critical hardware features, some of which have not been well explored in existing literature. Our results show drastic speedups for the functions in the data-independent or data-sharing category by leveraging hardware support judiciously; and moderate speedups for those in the algorithm-dependent category by careful algorithm selection and parallelization. For the functions in the last category, fine-grain synchronization and data-dependency requirements are the main obstacles to an efficient implementation on GPUs.

(J. Kong, et. al., “Accelerating MATLAB Image Processing Toolbox Functions on GPUs”, Proceedings of the Third Workshop on General-Purpose Computation on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU-3), Pittsburgh, PA. Apr. 2010. Source code is available here.)

CUDA 3.0 toolkit released

March 20th, 2010

NVIDIA has released version 3.0 of the CUDA Toolkit, providing developers with tools to prepare for the upcoming Fermi-based GPUs. Highlights of this release include:

  • Support for the new Fermi architecture, with:
    • Native 64-bit GPU support
    • Multiple Copy Engine support
    • ECC reporting
    • Concurrent Kernel Execution
    • Fermi HW debugging support in cuda-gdb
    • Fermi HW profiling support for CUDA C and OpenCL in Visual Profiler
  • C++ Class Inheritance and Template Inheritance support for increased programmer productivity
  • A new unified interoperability API for Direct3D and OpenGL, with support for:
    • OpenGL texture interop
    • Direct3D 11 interop support
    • CUDA Driver / Runtime Buffer Interoperability, which allows applications using the CUDA Driver API to also use libraries implemented using the CUDA C Runtime such as CUFFT and CUBLAS.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Modelling GPU-CPU Workloads and Systems

March 20th, 2010


Heterogeneous systems, systems with multiple processors tailored for specialized tasks, are challenging programming environments. While it may be possible for domain experts to optimize a high performance application for a very specific and well documented system, it may not perform as well or even function on a different system. Developers who have less experience with either the application domain or the system architecture may devote a significant effort to writing a program that merely functions correctly. We believe that a comprehensive analysis and modeling framework is necessary to ease application development and automate program optimization on heterogeneous platforms.

This paper reports on an empirical evaluation of 25 CUDA applications on four GPUs and three CPUs, leveraging the Ocelot dynamic compiler infrastructure which can execute and instrument the same CUDA applications on either target. Using a combination of instrumentation and statistical analysis, we record 37 different metrics for each application and use them to derive relationships between program behavior and performance on heterogeneous processors. These relationships are then fed into a modeling framework that attempts to predict the performance of similar classes of applications on different processors. Most significantly, this study identifies several non-intuitive relationships between program characteristics and demonstrates that it is possible to accurately model CUDA kernel performance using only metrics that are available before a kernel is executed.

(Andrew Kerr, Gregory Diamos and Sudakhar Yalamanchili: “Modeling GPU-CPU Workloads and Systems”. Proceedings of the Third Workshop on General-Purpose Computation on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU-3), Pittsburgh, PA. Apr. 2010. PDF Link.)

Symposium on Applications of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) in Chemistry and Materials Science

March 11th, 2010

This symposium is organized by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Simulation & Modeling and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The program includes a half-day hands-on tutorial, and several invited talks and presentations by experts from academia and industry. Registration is required. More information can be found at the symposium website.

Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux for CUDA

March 9th, 2010

Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux for CUDA (YDEL for CUDA) is an open source, Linux operating system built for faster, easier, and more reliable GPU Computing. YDEL for CUDA, released and supported by Fixstars, goes beyond the basic Linux OS and integrates support for GPUs, NVIDIA CUDA, and GPU development tools.

From the YDEL for CUDA website:

Key benefits of Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux for CUDA:

  • YDEL for CUDA users can experience up to a 9% performance improvement in some applications.
  • Comprehensive support is offered to paid subscriptions with our skilled team able to assist you with both Linux and CUDA.
  • YDEL’s unparalleled integrations means everything you need to write and run CUDA applications is included and configured.
  • YDEL includes multiple versions of CUDA and can easily switch between them via a setting in a configuration file or an environment variable.
  • Never worry about updates affecting your system, Fixstars offers YDEL users greater reliability with our strenuous test procedures that validate GPU computing functionality and performance.

For more information, visit the YDEL for CUDA website.

Swan: A simple tool for porting CUDA to OpenCL

March 9th, 2010

Swan is a small tool that aids the reversible conversion of existing CUDA codebases to OpenCL. Its main features are the translation of CUDA kernel source-code to OpenCL, and a common API that abstracts both CUDA and OpenCL runtimes. Swan preserves the convenience of the CUDA <<< grid, block >>> kernel launch syntax by generating C source-code for kernel entry-point functions. Possible uses include:

  • Evaluating OpenCL performance of an existing CUDA code
  • Maintaining a dual-target OpenCL and CUDA code
  • Reducing dependence on NVCC when compiling host code
  • Support multiple CUDA compute capabilities in a single binary

Swan is developed by the MultiscaleLab, Barcelona, and is available under the GPL2 license.

Cyclic Reduction Tridiagonal Solvers on GPUs Applied to Mixed Precision Multigrid

March 3rd, 2010


We have previously suggested mixed precision iterative solvers specifically tailored to the iterative solution of sparse linear equation systems as they typically arise in the finite element discretization of partial differential equations. These schemes have been evaluated for a number of hardware platforms, in particular single precision GPUs as accelerators to the general purpose CPU. This paper reevaluates the situation with new mixed precision solvers that run entirely on the GPU: We demonstrate that mixed precision schemes constitute a significant performance gain over native double precision. Moreover, we present a new implementation of cyclic reduction for the parallel solution of tridiagonal systems and employ this scheme as a line relaxation smoother in our GPU-based multigrid solver. With an alternating direction implicit variant of this advanced smoother we can extend the applicability of the GPU multigrid solvers to very ill-conditioned systems arising from the discretization on anisotropic meshes, that previously had to be solved on the CPU. The resulting mixed precision schemes are always faster than double precision alone, and outperform tuned CPU solvers consistently by almost an order of magnitude.

(Dominik Göddeke and Robert Strzodka: “Cyclic Reduction Tridiagonal Solvers on GPUs Applied to Mixed Precision Multigrid” , accepted in: IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Special Issue: High Performance Computing with Accelerators, Mar. 2010. Link.)

Easy GPU programming with GMAC

March 1st, 2010

GMAC (Global Memory for ACcelerators) is a user-level library that implements an Asymmetric Distributed Shared Memory model to be used by CUDA programs. An ADSM model allows CPU code to access data hosted in accelerator (GPU) memory. In this model, a single pointer is used for data structures accessed both in the CPU and the GPU and the coherency of the data is transparently handled by the library. Moreover, the data allocated with GMAC can be accessed by all the host threads of the program. That makes your code simpler and cleaner. GMAC currently supports programs programmed with CUDA, but OpenCL support is planned.

A paper describing the Asymmetric Distributed Shared Memory model and its implementation in GMAC has been accepted in the ASPLOS XV conference. GMAC is being developed by the Operating System Group at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya and the IMPACT Research Group at the University of Illinois. Binary pre-compiled packages, the source code, documentation and examples are available at the project website.

(Isaac Gelado, Javier Cabezas, John Stone, Sanjay Patel, Nacho Navarro and Wen-mei Hwu,  “An Asymmetric Distributed Shared Memory Model for Heterogeneous Parallel Systems”, accepted in: Fifteenth International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2010), March 2010.)

Lattice-Boltzmann Simulation of the Shallow-Water Equations with Fluid-Structure Interaction on Multi- and Manycore Processors

February 28th, 2010


We present an efficient method for the simulation of laminar fluid flows with free surfaces including their interaction with moving rigid bodies, based on the two-dimensional shallow water equations and the Lattice-Boltzmann method. Our implementation targets multiple fundamentally different architectures such as commodity multicore CPUs with SSE, GPUs, the Cell BE and clusters. We show that our code scales well on an MPI-based cluster; that an eightfold speedup can be achieved using modern GPUs in contrast to multithreaded CPU code and, finally, that it is possible to solve fluid-structure interaction scenarios with high resolution at interactive rates.

(Markus Geveler, Dirk Ribbrock, Dominik Göddeke and Stefan Turek: “Lattice-Boltzmann Simulation of the Shallow-Water Equations with Fluid-Structure Interaction on Multi- and Manycore Processors”, Accepted in: Facing the Multicore Challenge, Heidelberg, Germany, Mar. 2010. Link.)