GPUMap: A Transparently GPU-Accelerated Map Function

Ivan Pachev
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
California Polytechnic State University, 2017


   title={GPUMap: A Transparently GPU-Accelerated Map Function},

   author={Pachev, Ivan},



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As GPGPU computing becomes more popular, it will be used to tackle a wider range of problems. However, due to the current state of GPGPU programming, programmers are typically required to be familiar with the architecture of the GPU in order to effectively program it. Fortunately, there are software packages that attempt to simplify GPGPU programming in higher-level languages such as Java and Python. However, these software packages do not attempt to abstract the GPU-acceleration process completely. Instead, they require programmers to be somewhat familiar with the traditional GPGPU programming model which involves some understanding of GPU threads and kernels. In addition, prior to using these software packages, programmers are required to transform the data they would like to operate on into arrays of primitive data. Typically, such software packages restrict the use of object-oriented programming when implementing the code to operate on this data. This thesis presents GPUMap, which is a proof-of-concept GPU-accelerated map function for Python. GPUMap aims to hide all the details of the GPU from the programmer, and allows the programmer to accelerate programs written in normal Python code that operate on arbitrarily nested objects using a majority of Python syntax. Using GPUMap, certain types of Python programs are able to be accelerated up to 100 times over normal Python code. There are also software packages that provide simplified GPU acceleration to distributed computing frameworks such as MapReduce and Spark. Unfortunately, these packages do not provide a completely abstracted GPU programming experience, which conflicts with the purpose of the distributed computing frameworks: to abstract the underlying distributed system. This thesis also presents GPU-accelerated RDD (GPURDD), which is a type of Spark Resilient Distributed Dataset (RDD) which incorporates GPUMap into its map, filter, and foreach methods in order to allow Spark applicatons to make use of the abstracted GPU acceleration provided by GPUMap.
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