GPUIterator: Bridging the Gap between Chapel and GPU Platforms
PGAS (Partitioned Global Address Space) programming models were originally designed to facilitate productive parallel programming at both the intra-node and inter-node levels in homogeneous parallel machines. However, there is a growing need to support accelerators, especially GPU accelerators, in heterogeneous nodes in a cluster. Among high-level PGAS programming languages, Chapel is well suited for this task due to its use of locales and domains to help abstract away low-level details of data and compute mappings for different compute nodes, as well as for different processing units (CPU vs. GPU) within a node. In this paper, we address some of the key limitations of past approaches on mapping Chapel on to GPUs as follows. First, we introduce a Chapel module, GPUIterator, which is a portable programming interface that supports GPU execution of a Chapel forall loop. This module makes it possible for Chapel programmers to easily use hand-tuned native GPU programs/libraries, which is an important requirement in practice since there is still a big performance gap between compiler-generated GPU code and hand-turned GPU code; hand-optimization of CPU-GPU data transfers is also an important contributor to this performance gap. Second, though Chapel programs are regularly executed on multi-node clusters, past work on GPU enablement of Chapel programs mainly focused on single-node execution. In contrast, our work supports execution across multiple CPU+GPU nodes by accepting Chapel’s distributed domains. Third, our approach supports hybrid execution of a Chapel parallel (forall) loop across both a GPU and CPU cores, which is beneficial for specific platforms. Our preliminary performance evaluations show that the use of the GPUIterator is a promising approach for Chapel programmers to easily utilize a single or multiple CPU+GPU node(s) while maintaining portability.
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