Design and implementation of an array language for computational science on a heterogeneous multicore architecture

Keir, Paul (2012) Design and implementation of an array language for computational science on a heterogeneous multicore architecture. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The packing of multiple processor cores onto a single chip has become a mainstream solution to fundamental physical issues relating to the microscopic scales employed in the manufacture of semiconductor components. Multicore architectures provide lower clock speeds per core, while aggregate floating-point capability continues to increase.

Heterogeneous multicore chips, such as the Cell Broadband Engine (CBE) and modern graphics chips, also address the related issue of an increasing mismatch between high processor speeds, and huge latency to main memory. Such chips tackle this memory wall by the provision of addressable caches; increased bandwidth to main memory; and fast thread context switching. An associated cost is often reduced functionality of the individual accelerator cores; and the increased complexity involved in their programming.

This dissertation investigates the application of a programming language supporting the first-class use of arrays; and capable of automatically parallelising array expressions; to the heterogeneous multicore domain of the CBE, as found in the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3). The language is a pre-existing and well-documented proper subset of Fortran, known as the ‘F’ programming language. A bespoke compiler, referred to as E , is developed to support this aim, and written in the Haskell programming language.

The output of the compiler is in an extended C++ dialect known as Offload C++, which targets the PS3. A significant feature of this language is its use of multiple, statically typed, address spaces. By focusing on generic, polymorphic interfaces for both the generated and hand constructed code, a number of interesting design patterns relating to the memory locality are introduced.

A suite of medium-sized (100-700 lines), real-world benchmark programs are used to evaluate the performance, correctness, and scalability of the compiler technology. Absolute speedup values, well in excess of one, are observed for all of the programs.

The work ultimately demonstrates that an array language can significantly reduce the effort expended to utilise a parallel heterogeneous multicore architecture, while retaining high performance. A substantial, related advantage in using standard ‘F’ is that any Fortran compiler can create debuggable, and competitively performing serial programs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: parallel,heterogeneous,cell broadband engine,arrays,auto-parallelisation,hpc,compiler,fortran,c++,haskell
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Supervisor's Name: Cockshott, Dr. Paul W.
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Mr Paul G Keir
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3645
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:09

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