Portable LDPC Decoding on Multicores Using OpenCL

October 24th, 2012


This article proposes to address, in a tutorial style, the benefits of using Open Computing Language (OpenCL) as a quick way to allow programmers to express and exploit parallelism in signal processing algorithms, such as those used in error-correcting code systems. In particular, we will show how multiplatform kernels can be developed straightforwardly using OpenCL to perform computationally intensive low-density parity-check (LDPC) decoding, targeting them to run on a large set of worldwide disseminated multicore architectures, such as x86 general- purpose multicore central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). Moreover, devices with different architectures can be orchestrated to cooperatively execute these signal processing applications programmed in OpenCL. Experimental evaluation of the parallel kernels programmed with the OpenCL framework shows that high-performance can be achieved for distinct parallel computing architectures with low programming effort.

The complete source code developed and instructions for compiling and executing the program are available at http://www.co.it.pt/ldpcopencl for signal processing programmers who wish to engage with more advanced features supported by OpenCL.

(G. Falcao, V. Silva, L. Sousa and J. Andrade: “Portable LDPC Decoding on Multicores Using OpenCL [Applications Corner]“, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine 29:4(81-109), July 2012. [DOI])

Parallel Sparse Approximate Inverse Preconditioning on Graphic Processing Units

October 22nd, 2012


Accelerating numerical algorithms for solving sparse linear systems on parallel architectures has attracted the attention of many researchers due to their applicability to many engineering and scientific problems. The solution of sparse systems often dominates the overall execution time of such problems and is mainly solved by iterative methods. Preconditioners are used to accelerate the convergence rate of these solvers and reduce the total execution time. Sparse Approximate Inverse (SAI) preconditioners are a popular class of preconditioners designed to improve the condition number of large sparse matrices and accelerate the convergence rate of iterative solvers for sparse linear systems. We propose a GPU accelerated SAI preconditioning technique called GSAI, which parallelizes the computation of this preconditioner on NVIDIA graphic cards. The preconditioner is then used to enhance the convergence rate of the BiConjugate Gradient Stabilized (BiCGStab) iterative solver on the GPU. The SAI preconditioner is generated on average 28 and 23 times faster on the NVIDIA GTX480 and TESLA M2070 graphic cards respectively compared to ParaSails (a popular implementation of SAI preconditioners on CPU) single processor/core results. The proposed GSAI technique computes the SAI preconditioner in approximately the same time as ParaSails generates the same preconditioner on 16 AMD Opteron 252 processors.

(Maryam Mehri Dehnavi, David Fernandez, Jean-Luc Gaudiot and Dennis Giannacopoulos: “Parallel Sparse Approximate Inverse Preconditioning on Graphic Processing Units”, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (to appear). [DOI])

From CUDA to OpenCL: Towards a performance-portable solution for multi-platform GPU programming

September 4th, 2012


In this work, we evaluate OpenCL as aprogramming tool for developing performance-portable applications for GPGPU. While the Khronos group developed OpenCL with programming portability in mind, performance is not necessarily portable. OpenCL has required performance-impacting initializations that do not exist in other languages such as CUDA. Understanding these implications allows us to provide a single library with decent performance on a variety of platforms. We choose triangular solver (TRSM) and matrix multiplication (GEMM) as representative level 3 BLAS routines to implement in OpenCL. We profile TRSM to get the time distribution of the OpenCL runtime system. We then provide tuned GEMM kernels for both the NVIDIA Tesla C2050 and ATI Radeon 5870, the latest GPUs offered by both companies. We explore the benefits of using the texture cache, the performance ramifications of copying data into images, discrepancies in the OpenCL and CUDA compilers’ optimizations, and other issues that affect the performance. Experimental results show that nearly 50% of peak performance can be obtained in GEMM on both GPUs in OpenCL. We also show that the performance of these kernels is not highly portable. Finally, we propose the use of auto-tuning to better explore these kernels’ parameter space using search harness.

(Peng Du, Rick Weber, Piotr Luszczek, Stanimire Tomov, Gregory Peterson, Jack Dongarra, “From CUDA to OpenCL: Towards a performance-portable solution for multi-platform GPU programming”, Parallel Computing 38(8):391–407, Aug. 2012. [DOI] [early techreport])

Fast Visualization of Gaussian Density Surfaces for Molecular Dynamics and Particle System Trajectories

August 1st, 2012


We present an efficient algorithm for computation of surface representations enabling interactive visualization of large dynamic particle data sets. Our method is based on a GPU-accelerated data-parallel algorithm for computing a volumetric density map from Gaussian weighted particles. The algorithm extracts an isovalue surface from the computed density map, using fast GPU-accelerated Marching Cubes. This approach enables interactive frame rates for molecular dynamics simulations consisting of millions of atoms. The user can interactively adjust the display of structural detail on a continuous scale, ranging from atomic detail for in-depth analysis, to reduced detail visual representations suitable for viewing the overall architecture of molecular complexes. The extracted surface is useful for interactive visualization, and provides a basis for structure analysis methods.

(Michael Krone, John E. Stone, Thomas Ertl, and Klaus Schulten, “Fast visualization of Gaussian density surfaces for molecular dynamics and particle system trajectories”, In EuroVis – Short Papers 2012, pp. 67-71, 2012. [WWW])

A GPU-Based Multi-Swarm PSO Method for Parameter Estimation in Stochastic Biological Systems Exploiting Discrete-Time Target Series

August 1st, 2012


Parameter estimation (PE) of biological systems is one of the most challenging problems in Systems Biology. Here we present a PE method that integrates particle swarm optimization (PSO) to estimate the value of kinetic constants, and a stochastic simulation algorithm to reconstruct the dynamics of the system. The fitness of candidate solutions, corresponding to vectors of reaction constants, is defined as the point-to-point distance between a simulated dynamics and a set of experimental measures, carried out using discrete-time sampling and various initial conditions. A multi-swarm PSO topology with different modalities of particles migration is used to account for the different laboratory conditions in which the experimental data are usually sampled. The whole method has been specifically designed and entirely executed on the GPU to provide a reduction of computational costs. We show the effectiveness of our method and discuss its performances on an enzymatic kinetics and a prokaryotic gene expression network.

(M. Nobile, D. Besozzi, P. Cazzaniga, G. Mauri and D. Pescini: “A GPU-based multi-swarm PSO method for parameter estimation in stochastic biological systems exploiting discrete-time target series”,  in M. Giacobini, L. Vanneschi, W. Bush, editors, Evolutionary Computation, Machine Learning and Data Mining in Bioinformatics, Springer, vol. 7246 of LNCS. pp. 74-85, 2012. [DOI])

Policy-based Tuning for Performance Portability and Library Co-optimization

July 22nd, 2012


Although modular programming is a fundamental software development practice, software reuse within contemporary GPU kernels is uncommon. For GPU software assets to be reusable across problem instances, they must be inherently flexible and tunable. To illustrate, we survey the performance-portability landscape for a suite of common GPU primitives, evaluating thousands of reasonable program variants across a large diversity of problem instances (microarchitecture, problem size, and data type). While individual specializations provide excellent performance for specific instances, we find no variants with universally reasonable performance. In this paper, we present a policy-based design idiom for constructing reusable, tunable software components that can be co-optimized with the enclosing kernel for the specific problem and processor at hand. In particular, this approach enables flexible granularity coarsening which allows the expensive aspects of communication and the redundant aspects of data parallelism to scale with the width of the processor rather than the problem size. From a small library of tunable device subroutines, we have constructed the fastest, most versatile GPU primitives for reduction, prefix and segmented scan, duplicate removal, reduction-by-key, sorting, and sparse graph traversal.

(Duane Merrill, Michael Garland and Andrew Grimshaw, “Policy-based Tuning for Performance Portability and Library Co-optimization”, Innovative Parallel Computing 2012. [WWW])

Optimization of a Broadband Discone Antenna Design and Platform Installed Radiation Patterns Using a GPU-Accelerated Savant/WIPL-D Hybrid Approach

July 20th, 2012


Traditional design guidelines for broadband antennas do not always produce satisfactory performance for the desired frequency range of interest. In addition, the accurate prediction of the free-space antenna performance is not sufficient to determine if the antenna will meet a larger system requirement because the performance of the antenna can change significantly when it is installed on a platform. Antenna design software, such as WIPL-D, addresses the difficulties of designing antennas with broadband performance by providing optimization software that can automatically resize the various antenna dimensions until a desired performance criterion is met. At high-frequencies, the electrically large size of the platform makes it computationally difficult, or impossible, to directly consider the interactions between the antenna and the platform when designing the antenna in a full-wave solver. This paper describes an approach for the design and optimization of a discone antenna and then the subsequent installation on a large commercial aircraft. The antenna design will be optimized across a wide frequency range using WIPL-D Optimizer. The resulting discone antenna design is then imported into Savant-Hybrid, a hybrid asymptotic and full-wave solver, and the installed antenna performance is simulated using GPU acceleration at multiple potential antenna locations to determine the location that provides the least-degraded installed antenna performance.

(Tod Courtney, Matthew C. Miller, John E. Stone, and Robert A. Kipp: “Optimization of a Broadband Discone Antenna Design and Platform Installed Radiation Patterns Using a GPU-Accelerated Savant/WIPL-D Hybrid Approach”, Proceedings of the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Symposium
(ACES 2012), Columbus, Ohio, April 2012. [PDF])

Implementing a code generator for fast matrix multiplication in OpenCL on the GPU

July 11th, 2012


This paper presents results of an implementation of code generator for fast general matrix multiply (GEMM) kernels. When a set of parameters is given, the code generator produces the corresponding GEMM kernel written in OpenCL. The produced kernels are optimized for high-performance implementation on GPUs from AMD. Access latencies to GPU global memory is the main drawback for high performance. This study shows that storing matrix data in a block-major layout increases the performance and stability of GEMM kernels. On the Tahiti GPU (Radeon HD 7970), our DGEMM (double-precision GEMM) and SGEMM (single-precision GEMM) kernels achieve the performance up to 848 GFlop/s (90% of the peak) and 2646 GFlop/s (70%), respectively.

(K. Matsumoto, N. Nakasato, S. G. Sedukhin: “Implementing a code generator for fast matrix multiplication in OpenCL on the GPU”, accepted for Special Session: Auto-Tuning for Multicore and GPU (ATMG), IEEE 6th International Symposium on Embedded Multicore SoCs (MCSoC-12), Sep. 2012. [PDF])

A Study of Persistent Threads Style GPU Programming for GPGPU Workloads

July 4th, 2012


In this paper, we characterize and analyze an increasingly popular style of programming for the GPU called Persistent Threads (PT). We present a concise formal definition for this programming style, and discuss the difference between the traditional GPU programming style (nonPT) and PT, why PT is attractive for some high-performance usage scenarios, and when using PT may or may not be appropriate. We identify limitations of the nonPT style and identify four primary use cases it could be useful in addressing— CPU-GPU synchronization, load balancing/irregular parallelism, producer-consumer locality, and global synchronization. Through micro-kernel benchmarks we show the PT approach can achieve up to an order-of-magnitude speedup over nonPT kernels, but can also result in performance loss in many cases. We conclude by discussing the hardware and software fundamentals that will influence the development of Persistent Threads as a programming style in future systems.

(Kshitij Gupta, Jeff A. Stuart and John D. Owens: “A Study of Persistent Threads Style GPU Programming for GPGPU Workloads”, Proceedings of Innovative Parallel Computing, May 2012. [WWW])

Automatic tuning of the sparse matrix vector product on GPUs based on the ELLR-T approach

June 22nd, 2012


A wide range of applications in engineering and scientific computing are involved in the acceleration of the sparse matrix vector product (SpMV). Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) have recently emerged as platforms that yield outstanding acceleration factors. SpMV implementations for GPUs have already appeared on the scene. This work is focused on the ELLR-T algorithm to compute SpMV on GPU architecture, its performance is strongly dependent on the optimum selection of two parameters. Therefore, taking account that the memory operations dominate the performance of ELLR-T, an analytical model is proposed in order to obtain the auto-tuning of ELLR-T for particular combinations of sparse matrix and GPU architecture. The evaluation results with a representative set of test matrices show that the average performance achieved by auto-tuned ELLR-T by means of the proposed model is near to the optimum. A comparative analysis of ELLR-T against a variety of previous proposals shows that ELLR-T with the estimated configuration reaches the best performance on GPU architecture for the representative set of test matrices.

(Francisco Vázquez and José Jesús Fernández and Ester M. Garzón: “Automatic tuning of the sparse matrix vector product on GPUs based on the ELLR-T approach”, Parallel Computing 38(8), 408-420, Aug. 2012. [DOI])

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