Performance assessment of CUDA and OpenACC in large scale combustion simulations

Guillermo Oyarzun, Daniel Mira, Guillaume Houzeaux
Computer Applications in Science and Engineering, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain
arXiv:2107.11541 [cs.DC], (31 Jul 2021)


   title={Performance assessment of CUDA and OpenACC in large scale combustion simulations},

   author={Guillermo Oyarzun and Daniel Mira and Guillaume Houzeaux},






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GPUs have climbed up to the top of supercomputer systems making life harder to many legacy scientific codes. Nowadays, many recipes are being used in such code’s portability, without any clarity of which is the best option. We present a comparative analysis of the two most common approaches, CUDA and OpenACC, into the multi-physics CFD code Alya. Our focus is the combustion problems which are one of the most computing demanding CFD simulations. The most computing-intensive parts of the code were analyzed in detail. New data structures for the matrix assembly step have been created to facilitate a SIMD execution that benefits vectorization in the CPU and stream processing in the GPU. As a result, the CPU code has improved its performance by up to 25%. In GPU execution, CUDA has proven to be up to 2 times faster than OpenACC for the assembly of the matrix. On the contrary, similar performance has been obtained in the kernels related to vector operations used in the linear solver, where there is minimal memory reuse.
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