Better programming languages for HPC

Author: Stephen Booth
Posted: 5 May 2016 | 16:43

Recently I seem to have had many conversations about programming languages for HPC. In some ways this is not a new subject - I have been having similar conversations for the last 20 years. However as HPC hardware evolves, machines become more complex and the issues that need to be addressed by programmers also become more complex. So it is not surprising that we are wondering if there is more the compiler could be doing to help us.

Array index order matters, right?

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 30 Mar 2016 | 17:46

Does array index order affect performance?

A couple of weeks ago I was teaching an ARCHER Modern Fortran course, and one of the things we discuss during the course is index ordering for multi-dimension arrays.  This course is an introduction to modern Fortran (primarily F90/F95), so we don't go into lots of details about parallel or performance programming, but as attendees are likely to be using Fortran for computational simulation it is important they understand which array dimensions are contiguous in memory so that they don't accidentally write code that is much slower than it should be.

GNU compiler performance

Figure 1: Performance using the GNU compiler

During one of the practical sessions on the course, one of the students wrote a little program to investigate the performance impact of iterating through array elements in a non-contiguous order.  They also included some code to investigate if there is a performance impact when using allocatable array rather than static arrays (I'd mentioned it shouldn't impact performance but I obviously wasn't convincing enough...).

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