Leveraging Memory Copy Overlap for Efficient Sparse Matrix-Vector Multiplication on GPUs

Guangsen Zeng, Yi Zou
School of Microelectronics, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510641, China
Electronics, 12(17), 3687, 2023


   title={Leveraging Memory Copy Overlap for Efficient Sparse Matrix-Vector Multiplication on GPUs},

   author={Zeng, Guangsen and Zou, Yi},








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Sparse matrix-vector multiplication (SpMV) is central to many scientific, engineering, and other applications, including machine learning. Compressed Sparse Row (CSR) is a widely used sparse matrix storage format. SpMV using the CSR format on GPU computing platforms is widely studied, where the access behavior of GPU is often the performance bottleneck. The Ampere GPU architecture recently from NVIDIA provides a new asynchronous memory copy instruction, memcpy_async, for more efficient data movement in shared memory. Leveraging the capability of this new memcpy_async instruction, we first propose the CSR-Partial-Overlap to carefully overlap the data copy from global memory to shared memory and computation, allowing us to take full advantage of the data transfer time. In addition, we design the dynamic batch partition and the dynamic threads distribution to achieve effective load balancing, avoid the overhead of fixing up partial sums, and improve thread utilization. Furthermore, we propose the CSR-Full-Overlap based on the CSR-Partial-Overlap, which takes the overlap of data transfer from host to device and SpMV kernel execution into account as well. The CSR-Full-Overlap unifies the two major overlaps in SpMV and hides the computation as much as possible in the two important access behaviors of the GPU. This allows CSR-Full-Overlap to achieve the best performance gains from both overlaps. As far as we know, this paper is the first in-depth study of how memcpy_async can be potentially applied to help accelerate SpMV computation in GPU platforms. We compare CSR-Full-Overlap to the current state-of-the-art cuSPARSE, where our experimental results show an average 2.03x performance gain and up to 2.67x performance gain.
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