OpenACC – First Experiences with Real-World Applications

Sandra Wienke, Paul Springer, Christian Terboven, Dieter an Mey
Center for Computing and Communication, JARA, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
EURO-PAR 2012 PARALLEL PROCESSING, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 7484/2012, 859-870, 2012


   title={OpenACC – First Experiences with Real-World Applications},

   author={Wienke, Sandra and Springer, Paul and Terboven, Christian and an Mey, Dieter},


   booktitle={Euro-Par 2012 Parallel Processing},

   series={Lecture Notes in Computer Science},

   editor={Kaklamanis, Christos and Papatheodorou, Theodore and Spirakis, Paul},

   publisher={Springer Berlin / Heidelberg},


   keyword={Computer Science},






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Today’s trend to use accelerators like GPGPUs in heterogeneous computer systems has entailed several low-level APIs for accelerator programming. However, programming these APIs is often tedious and therefore unproductive. To tackle this problem, recent approaches employ directive-based high-level programming for accelerators. In this work, we present our first experiences with OpenACC, an API consisting of compiler directives to offload loops and regions of C/C++ and Fortran code to accelerators. We compare the performance of OpenACC to PGI Accelerator and OpenCL for two real-world applications and evaluate programmability and productivity. We find that OpenACC offers a promising ratio of development effort to performance and that a directive-based approach to program accelerators is more efficient than low-level APIs, even if suboptimal performance is achieved.
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