Effective Extensible Programming: Unleashing Julia on GPUs

Tim Besard, Christophe Foket, Bjorn De Sutter
Department of Electronics and Information Systems, Ghent University, Belgium
arXiv:1712.03112 [cs.PL], (8 Dec 2017)


   title={Effective Extensible Programming: Unleashing Julia on GPUs},

   author={Besard, Tim and Foket, Christophe and Sutter, Bjorn De},






GPUs and other accelerators are popular devices for accelerating compute-intensive, parallelizable applications. However, programming these devices is a difficult task. Writing efficient device code is challenging, and is typically done in a low-level programming language. High-level languages are rarely supported, or do not integrate with the rest of the high-level language ecosystem. To overcome this, we propose compiler infrastructure to efficiently add support for new hardware or environments to an existing programming language. We evaluate our approach by adding support for NVIDIA GPUs to the Julia programming language. By integrating with the existing compiler, we significantly lower the cost to implement and maintain the new compiler, and facilitate reuse of existing application code. Moreover, use of the high-level Julia programming language enables new and dynamic approaches for GPU programming. This greatly improves programmer productivity, while maintaining application performance similar to that of the official NVIDIA CUDA toolkit.
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