High-level Language Support for User-defined Reductions

Steven J. Deitz
Bradford L. Chamberlain
Lawrence Snyder

In Proceedings of the LACSI Symposium, October 2001

Abstract: The optimized handling of reductions on parallel supercomputers or clusters of workstations is critical to high performance because reductions are common in scientific codes and a potential source of bottlenecks. Yet in many high-level languages, a mechanism for writing efficient reductions remains surprisingly absent. Further, when such mechanisms do exist, they often do not provide the flexibility a programmer needs to achieve a desirable level of performance. In this paper, we present a new language construct for arbitrary reductions that lets a programmer achieve a level of performance equal to that achievable with the highly flexible, but low-level combination of Fortran and MPI. We have implemented this construct in the ZPL language and evaluate it in the context of the initialization of the NAS MG benchmark. We show a 45 times speedup over the same code written in ZPL without this construct. In addition, performance on a large number of processors surpasses that achieved in the NAS implementation showing that our mechanism provides programmers with the needed flexibility.

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