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Frequently Asked Questions

Jared Hoberock edited this page May 17, 2016 · 3 revisions


  • What is Thrust?
    • Thrust is a C++ template library of parallel algorithms. Thrust allows you to program parallel architectures using an interface similar to the C++ Standard Template Library (STL).
  • What is a C++ template library?
    • C++ templates are a way to write generic algorithms and data structures. A template library is simply a cohesive collection of such algorithms and data structures in a single package.
  • Do I need to build Thrust?
    • No. Since Thrust is a template library you just #include the appropriate header files into your .cu (or .cpp) file and compile with nvcc (c++ compiler).
  • What data structures does Thrust provide?
    • Currently Thrust provides vector data structures (e.g., thrust::device_vector) which are analogous to std::vector in the STL. These vector data structures simplify memory management and data transfer.
  • What algorithms does Thrust provide?
    • sorting: thrust::sort and thrust::sort_by_key
    • transformations: thrust::transform
    • reductions: thrust::reduce and thrust::transform_reduce
    • scans: thrust::inclusive_scan, thrust::exclusive_scan, thrust::transform_inclusive_scan, etc.
    • Refer to the documentation for a complete listing.
  • What version of CUDA do I need to develop GPU applications with Thrust?
    • The latest version of Thrust requires CUDA 4.0 or newer.
  • What platforms does Thrust support?
    • Thrust has been tested extensively on Linux, Windows, and OSX systems.
  • When will Thrust support OpenCL?
    • The primary barrier to OpenCL support is the lack of an OpenCL compiler and runtime with support for C++ templates (e.g., something similar to nvcc and the CUDA Runtime). These features are necessary to achieve close coupling of host and device codes.
  • Does Thrust depend on any other libraries?
    • No, Thrust is self-contained and requires no additional libraries.
  • Can I distribute Thrust with my application?
    • Yes! Thrust is open-source software released under liberal licensing terms.
  • What open-source license does Thrust use?


  • Can I create a thrust::device_vector from memory I've allocated myself?
  • How do I find the array index of the element with the maximum/minimum value?
    • Use thrust::max_element or thrust::min_element, which are found in the file <thrust/extrema.h>
  • Can I call Thrust algorithms inside a CUDA kernel?
    • Yes! Thrust algorithms may be called from __global__ or __device__ functions when invoked with an execution policy.
  • Can I call Thrust algorithms from CUDA Fortran?
    • Yes! This example shows how to call Thrust's sort algorithm from Fortran.


  • If you're targeting the CUDA backend:
    • Make sure you are using CUDA 4.0 or greater:
      • run nvcc --version
    • Make sure you're compiling files that #include Thrust with nvcc.
    • Make sure that files that #include Thrust have a .cu extension. Other extensions (e.g., .cpp) will cause nvcc to treat the file incorrectly and produce an error message.
  • If you're targeting the OpenMP backend:
    • Make sure you've enabled OpenMP code generation:
      • -fopenmp with g++
      • /openmp with cl.exe
  • If all else fails, send a message to thrust-users and we'll do our best to assist you.
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