A Flexible Patch-Based Lattice Boltzmann Parallelization Approach for Heterogeneous GPU-CPU Clusters

Christian Feichtinger, Johannes Habich, Harald Koestler, Georg Hager, Ulrich Ruede, Gerhard Wellein
Chair for System Simulation, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
arXiv:1007.1388v1 [cs.DC] (8 Jul 2010)


   title={A Flexible Patch-Based Lattice Boltzmann Parallelization Approach for Heterogeneous GPU-CPU Clusters},

   author={Feichtinger, C. and Habich, J. and Koestler, H. and Hager, G. and Ruede, U. and Wellein, G.},

   journal={Arxiv preprint arXiv:1007.1388},



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Sustaining a large fraction of single GPU performance in parallel computations is considered to be the major problem of GPU-based clusters. In this article, this topic is addressed in the context of a lattice Boltzmann flow solver that is integrated in the WaLBerla software framework. We propose a multi-GPU implementation using a block-structured MPI parallelization, suitable for load balancing and heterogeneous computations on CPUs and GPUs. The overhead required for multi-GPU simulations is discussed in detail and it is demonstrated that the kernel performance can be sustained to a large extent. With our GPU implementation, we achieve nearly perfect weak scalability on InfiniBand clusters. However, in strong scaling scenarios multi-GPUs make less efficient use of the hardware than IBM BG/P and x86 clusters. Hence, a cost analysis must determine the best course of action for a particular simulation task. Additionally, weak scaling results of heterogeneous simulations conducted on CPUs and GPUs simultaneously are presented using clusters equipped with varying node configurations.
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