Portable and Performant GPU/Heterogeneous Asynchronous Many-Task Runtime System

Bradley Peterson
The University of Utah
The University of Utah, 2019



   author={Peterson, Bradley},


   school={The University of Utah}


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Asynchronous many-task (AMT) runtimes are maturing as a model for computing simulations on a diverse range of architectures at large-scale. The Uintah AMT framework is driven by a philosophy of maintaining an application layer distinct from the underlying runtime while operating on an adaptive mesh grid. This model has enabled task developers to focus on writing task code while minimizing their interaction with MPI transfers, halo processing, data stores, coherency of simulation variables, and proper ordering of task execution. Further, Uintah is implementing an architecture portable solution by utilizing the Kokkos programming portability layer so that application tasks can be written in one codebase and performantly executed on CPUs, GPUs, Intel Xeon Phis, and other future architectures. Of these architectures, it is perhaps Nvidia GPUs that introduce the greatest usability and portability challenges for AMT runtimes. Specifically, Nvidia GPUs require code to adhere to a proprietary programming model, use separate high capacity memory, utilize asynchrony of data movement and execution, and partition execution units among many streaming multiprocessors. Numerous novel solutions to both Uintah and Kokkos are required to abstract these GPU features into an AMT runtime while preserving an application layer and enabling portability. The focus of this AMT research is largely split into two main parts, performance and portability. Runtime performance comes from 1) minimizing runtime overhead when preparing simulation variables for tasks prior to execution, and 2) executing a heterogeneous mixture of tasks to keep compute node processing units busy. Preparation of simulation variables, especially halo processing, receives significant emphasis as Uintah’s target problems heavily rely on local and global halos. In addition, this work covers automated data movement of simulation variables between host and GPU memory as well as distributing tasks throughout a GPU for execution. Portability is a productivity necessity as application developers struggle to maintain three sets of code per task, namely code for single CPU core execution, CUDA code for GPU tasks, and a third set of code for Xeon Phi parallel execution. Programming portability layers, such as Kokkos, provide a framework for this portability, however, Kokkos itself requires modifications to support GPU execution of finer grained tasks typical of AMT runtimes like Uintah. Currently, Kokkos GPU parallel loop execution is bulk-synchronous. This research demonstrates a model for portable loops that is asynchronous, nonblocking, and performant. Additionally, integrating GPU portability into Uintah required additional modifications to aid the application developer in avoiding Kokkos specific details. This research concludes by demonstrating a GPU-enabled AMT runtime that is both performant and portable. Further, application developers are not burdened with additional architecture specific requirements. Results are demonstrated using production task codebases written for CPUs, GPUs, and Kokkos portability and executed in GPU homogeneous and CPU/GPU heterogeneous environments.
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