[Beowulf] What class of PDEs/numerical schemes suitable for GPU clusters

Jeff Layton laytonjb at att.net
Thu Nov 20 09:32:33 PST 2008

I disagree with Mark on investing into GP-GPUs. I think it's a good thing to do for the simple reason of understanding the programming model. I've been watching people work with GP-GPUs for several years and there is always this big hump that they have to get over - understanding how to take their algorithm and re-write it for SIMD. Once they get over this hump, then things get easier. This is also independent of precision. It doesn't matter if you learn in SP or DP - as long as you learn.

I would love to see a common language for GP-GPUs, but my guess is that OpenCL will be a bit slow. In the meantime, CUDA is the leader and gaining ground. I haven't had a chance to talk to PGI about their new compiler that has GP-GPU capability - but it sounds really fantastic (PGI makes a really great compiler).


P.S. Sorry for the top posting, but this silly web based email tool can't indent or do much of anything useful :)

From: Mark Hahn <hahn at mcmaster.ca>
To: Beowulf Mailing List <beowulf at beowulf.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:58:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] What class of PDEs/numerical schemes suitable for GPU clusters

> Ellis, I can't say re. the Firestream cards, but for Nvidia the answer is a
> resounding yes.

AMD had some PR recently (check the reg and inq) about supporting their 
stream stuff across the whole product line, including chipset-integrated
gpus.  that seems intelligent, given that lines between CPU and GPU are 
obviously blurring in the future (Larrabee, Fusion, etc).

IMO, it would be crazy to invest too much in the current gen of gp-gpu 
programming stuff.  doing some pilot stuff with both vendors probably
makes sense, but the field really does need OpenCL to succeed.  I hope 
the OpenCL people are not too OpenGL-ish, and realize that they need 
to target SSE and SSE512 as well.

> Virtually any recent card can run CUDA code. If you Google you can get a
> list of compatible cards.

not that many NVidia cards support DP yet though, which is probably 
important to anyone coming from the normal HPC world...  there's some 
speculation that NV will try to keep DP as a market segmentation 
feature to drive HPC towards high-cost Tesla cards, much as vendors 
have traditionally tried to herd high-end vis into 10x priced cards.

regards, mark hahn.
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