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high-performance computing

its OpenPower initiative, IBM aims to foster the creation of new types of high performance computing systems.

Heterogeneous HPC Looking ahead, it appears as though history will repeat itself, with the HPC industry returning to a focus on heterogeneous computing architectures. All signs point to another fundamental shiſt in the science and engineering computing market. Tis will likely include a diverse array of CPUs and accelerators feeding a de facto system architecture that includes very high speed latency-optimised SIMD-capable CPU cores, coupled with massively parallel bandwidth-optimised accelerators with exposed memory hierarchies. Tis presents both challenges and opportunities for HPC compiler developers such as PGI, who will need to target many types of commodity computing engines to remain viable in an HPC market where heterogeneous systems and computing environments are the norm. Since the late 1990s, most of the

innovation in HPC compiler optimisations and features has been driven by proprietary compilers – SIMD vectorisation, OpenMP and auto-parallelisation for multi-core,

memory hierarchy optimisations, the Cuda languages, OpenCL, OpenACC and OpenMP accelerator extensions are all derived from developments initiated in proprietary compilers. Over the last few years, LLVM compiler technology has emerged with an open source model that





delivers the rapid language, feature, and targeting developments expected from open source, and allows proprietary compiler developers to innovate around LLVM components. PGI already incorporates LLVM-based code generators for its GPU targets, and LLVM compiler technology has been adopted by AMD, Apple, ARM, Cray, Intel, Nvidia and many other commercial

compiler developers who are blending proprietary compiler technology with the best that open source has to offer. It is difficult to predict winners and

losers in a market with so many competing technologies, but this time around it looks like it won’t be required from a compiler standpoint. Te coming era of heterogeneous HPC systems is aligned with, and supported by, a new wave of infrastructure compiler technologies built around a modern open source model being driven and energised by mobile and embedded market forces. A high-quality LLVM back-end code generator now seems to be a given for any of the viable HPC processors. It allows proprietary compiler developers to focus on innovating in higher-level optimisations, parallel programming models, and productivity features while enabling the ability to deploy quickly and uniformly across a variety of targets. Tis appears to be the perfect formula for enabling an HPC market that needs to optimise performance, programmer productivity, and system cost as we drive toward exascale.

Doug Miles is director of PGI Compilers & Tools

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NVIDIA and PGI. Together we create the world’s fastest HPC Accelerators and the world’s best HPC Compilers. Accelerate your Science. Accelerate your Discoveries.

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