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Experimentation Infrastructure for PLDI 2017 Paper

This bundle contains scripts and benchmarks for reproducing the empirical evaluation of the paper Futhark: Purely Functional GPU-programming with Nested Parallelism and In-place Array Updates, to appear at PLDI 2017. The primary research artifact of our work is the Futhark compiler itself, which is freely available and has its own documentation. This bundle contains infrastructure, hacks, and tools for orchestrating the execution of Futhark implementations of various benchmarks, as well as running the original reference implementations. Tools are provided for computing and visualising relative speedups. The repository does not itself contain the Futhark compiler or any benchmark implementations. Some of these will be downloaded automatically, but others must be installed manually (as described below). The intent is to make it clear how we modify the reference implementations. In practice, we only modify Rodinia, via the file rodinia_3.1-some-instrumentation.patch.

This infrastructure depends not only on the Futhark compiler itself, but also on four third-party benchmark suites (Rodinia, Parboil, FinPar, and Accelerate), the GPU setup on the host system, and some Python libraries for automatic plot generation. To manage this, we have put effort into documenting the dependencies and creating workarounds for disabling parts of the infrastructure. Even if you are unable to install all of the reference benchmarks, you should still be able to get partial results. The Rodinia and FinPar benchmark suites are generally the easiest to run, as they are downloaded automatically by our scripts.

Please read this document carefully or you are likely to have a bad time. This infrastructure has been tested only on Linux, and some Unix knowhow is likely necessary to follow these instructions. The system must have a GPU, and a working OpenCL setup (see specific requirements below).

The main interface to the infrastructure is make. The makefile contains various targets for running sub-parts of the infrastructure, so even if not everything works (or you don't want to bother with installing the more complicated parts), you can still get partial results. The valid targets are listed at the end of this guide. If an intermediate step fails due to missing dependencies or misconfiguration, you must run make clean before proceeding, as it is likely that corrupted files will be left behind.

Running all benchmarks should take less than an hour, depending on the speed of your system.

System Requirements

Every program mentioned below must be available in PATH. You can modify the PATH (and other environment variables) before running make.

  • A Unix system with basic tools: patch, md5sum.

  • python3 with a working Matplotlib and Numpy, used for plotting and generating input data. For Parboil to work, it is important that plain python is a Python 2.

  • Some Accelerate examples: accelerate-nbody, accelerate-crystal, accelerate-mandelbrot, accelerate-fluid.

  • futhark-opencl.

The system must be able to compile OpenCL and CUDA programs with gcc without requiring any special compiler directives or include paths. That is, gcc opencl_test.c -lOpenCL and nvcc must work. You can run make sanity_check_opencl and make sanity_check_cuda to quickly check whether your system is capable of this. You may have to modify the environment variables CPATH, LIBRARY_PATH, and LD_LIBRARY_PATH to point to the appropriate locations locations. For example, on NVIDIA systems, the following is often necessary:

export PATH=/usr/local/cuda/bin:$PATH
export CPATH=/usr/local/cuda/include:$CPATH
export LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/cuda/lib64:$LIBRARY_PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/cuda/lib64/:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

Reference implementations using CUDA will only work if the system has an NVIDIA GPU. For implementations using OpenCL (including all Futhark implementations), any AMD or NVIDIA GPU made within the last five years and with at least 3GiB of memory should work. They may also work on recent Intel GPUs, although you may run out of memory.

OpenCL/CUDA Device Selection

All Futhark implementations, and most of the reference implementations, interact with the GPU through the OpenCL library, which must be installed and working. A few (in particular Accelerate) use NVIDIAs CUDA. For OpenCL, most benchmarks will pick the first OpenCL platform and device found. Some will explicitly only look for devices that register themselves as GPUs; whereas others (including Futhark) are less picky, and will happily run on an OpenCL CPU device. It is advisable to ensure that only one platform and/or device can be found by the benchmarks. On Linux, OpenCL works by looking for platform files in the directory /etc/OpenCL/vendors - you can temporarily remove the ones that you do not want to use. Getting this right is likely to involve hackery and manual labour, as configuring GPUs on Linux remains one of the great unsolved problems in computer science. We recommend the use of clinfo for inspecting the state of the OpenCL setup.

Futhark requirements

The Futhark compiler has its own installation instructions, including both nightly binary releases (for Linux) and instructions on compiling from source. In short, to do the latter, install The Haskell Tool Stack, go to a checkout of the futhark repository, and run stack setup followed by stack install. The Futhark compiler binaries will be in $HOME/.local/bin, which must be added to the PATH.

At the time this document was written, the newest Futhark compiler Git revision was 78c956ba58057ca6773cefb466efef2fa65c1386.

Futhark benchmarks

The futhark-benchmarks repository will be automatically downloaded by the makefile, but note that it always downloads the newest version of the repository. This is to ensure that it retrieves a version that works with the newest version of the Futhark compiler.

At the time this document was written, the newest Futhark benchmarks revision was c3eee750b3c6aece2d52d2417537d093a9ee8148.

Rodinia requirements

The makefile automatically downloads the appropriate version of Rodinia and patches the relevant benchmarks with instrumentation code and other necessary fixes.

Parboil requirements

Parboil requires a click-through license and so cannot be automatically downloaded by the makefile. Futhermore, Parboil must often be manually configured with respect to include paths. The makefile assumes that the environment variable PARBOIL_LOCATION points to a working Parboil setup (defaults to $HOME/parboil if the variable is not set). This infrastructure has been tested with Parboil 2.5. You can run make sanity_check_parboil to check whether your Parboil setup works.

Accelerate requirements

Our Accelerate benchmarks come from accelerate-examples. Accelerate has its own installation instructions. If you follow these, the necessary binaries will be in $HOME/.local/bin, which must be added to the PATH.

FinPar requirements

Like Rodinia, FinPar is automatically downloaded.


Once everything is installed and working, a simple make will run every benchmark and put runtimes and Futhark speedups in the runtimes directory. The screen will be littered with messages, but all the important output will be stored in the runtimes directory.

There are several other makefile targets available:

make benchmark_easiest: Run all benchmarks that require only OpenCL (no CUDA), and which can be installed automatically by the makefile. This target is the one most likely to Just Work, and you can make speedup.pdf afterwards to get at least a partial visualisation. You will still need to manually install the Futhark compiler, and ensure that make sanity_check_opencl works.

make benchmark_rodinia: Run just the benchmarks from Rodinia and put the results in runtimes/.

make benchmark_accelerate: Run just the benchmarks from Accelerate and put the results in runtimes/.

make benchmark_finpar: Run the benchmarks from FinPar and put the results in runtimes/.

make benchmark_parboil: Run the benchmarks from Parboil and put the results in runtimes/.

make benchmark: Run all benchmarks.

make benchmark_futhark: Run all Futhark implementation and produce .runtimes and .avgtime files in the runtimes/ directory. Does not run reference implementations, and thus does not produce .speedup files.

make speedup.pdf: Generate a graph of all computed speedups. Runtime information from both runtimes/ and aux_runtimes/ is used (the latter is optional). You will have to create the latter directory yourself, preferably by copying it from the runtimes/ directory of some other machine.

make runtimes.tex: Generate a table of all runtimes and speedups. As with make speedup.pdf, also looks for an aux_runtimes/ directory.

make runtimes/*foo*.speedup: Run one specific named benchmark and compute its speedup. foo can be one of srad, hotspot, nn, backprop, cfd, kmeans, lavaMD, pathfinder, myocyte, fluid, mandelbrot, nbody, crystal, LocVolCalib_large, OptionPricing_large, mri-q.

make benchmark_opencl: Run all the benchmarks that require only OpenCL. This is the target you want if you are running on a non-NVIDIA system.

make sanity_check_cuda: Check whether simple OpenCL programs can be compiled and run.

make sanity_check_opencl: Check whether simple CUDA programs can be compiled and run.

make sanity_check_parboil: Check whether Parboil is available and working.

make benchmark_noinplace_kmeans: Run a variant of the kmeans benchmark that does not use in-place updates and print the resulting runtime to the screen.

make benchmark_noinplace_LocVolCalib: Run a variant of the LocVolCAlib benchmark that does not use in-place updates and print the resulting runtime to the screen.

Paper Data

Runtime data used to compute the figures in the paper can be found in the paper_data directory.


Benchmark suite for our PLDI'17 paper.



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