OpenCL Floating Point Software on Heterogeneous Architectures – Portable or Not?

Miriam Leeser, Jaideep Ramachandran, Thomas Wahl, Devon Yablonski
Northeastern University, Boston, USA
Workshop on Numerical Software Verification (NSV), 2012


   author={Miriam Leeser and Jaideep Ramachandran and Thomas Wahl and Devon Yablonski},

   title={OpenCL} Floating Point Software on Heterogeneous Architectures {—} Portable or Not?},

   booktitle={Workshop on Numerical Software Verification (NSV)},





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OpenCL is an emerging platform for parallel computing that promises portability of applications across different architectures. This promise is seriously undermined, however, by the frequent use of floating-point arithmetic in scientific applications. Floating-point computations can yield vastly different results on different architectures – even IEEE 754-compliant ones -, potentially causing changes in control flow and ultimately incorrect (not just imprecise) output for the entire program. In this paper, we illustrate a few instances of non-trivial diverging floating-point computations and thus present a case for rigorous static analysis and verification methods for parallel floating point software running on IEEE-754 2008 compliant hardware. We discuss plans for such methods, with the goal to facilitate the automated prediction of portability issues in floating-point software.
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