Overlapping computation and communication of three-dimensional FDTD on a GPU cluster

Ki-Hwan Kim, Q-Han Park
Korea Institute of Atmospheric Prediction Systems, Seoul 156-710, Republic of Korea
Computer Physics Communications, Volume 183, Issue 11, Pages 2364-2369, 2012















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Large-scale electromagnetic field simulations using the FDTD (finite-difference time-domain) method require the use of GPU (graphics processing unit) clusters. However, the communication overhead caused by slow interconnections becomes a major performance bottleneck. In this paper, as a way to remove the bottleneck, we propose the "kernel-split method" and the "host-buffer method" which overlap computation and communication for the FDTD simulation on the GPU cluster. The host-buffer method in particular enables overlapping without any modifications to the update-kernels that are already in use. We also present theoretical formulas to predict the overlap threshold and the total throughput for each method. By using our overlap methods with 6 GPU nodes, we demonstrate that the total performance of 3D FDTD reaches 92% of a six-fold increase, which is the upper limit that would be reached if there were no communication overhead.
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