Performance Portability of the Aeras Atmosphere Model to Next Generation Architectures using Kokkos

Jerry Watkins, Irina Tezaur
Extreme Scale Data Science & Analytics Department, Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 969, MS 9159, Livermore, CA
Sandia Laboratories Report, Sand No. 2016-10327, 2016


   title={Performance Portability of the Aeras Atmosphere Model to Next Generation Architectures using Kokkos},

   author={Watkins, Jerry and Tezaur, Irina},



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The subject of this report is the performance portability of the Aeras global atmosphere dynamical core (implemented within the Albany multi-physics code) to new and emerging architecture machines using the Kokkos library and programming model. We describe the process of refactoring the finite element assembly process for the 3D hydrostatic model in Aeras and highlight common issues associated with development on GPU architectures. After giving detailed build and execute instructions for Aeras with MPI, OpenMP and CUDA on the Shannon cluster at Sandia National Laboratories and the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, we evaluate the performance of the code on a canonical test case known as the baroclinic instability problem. We show a speedup of up to 4 times on 8 OpenMP threads, but we were unable to achieve a speedup on the GPU due to memory constraints. We conclude by providing methods for improving the performance of the code for future optimization.
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