Multi-Kepler GPU vs. multi-Intel MIC for spin systems simulations

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M. Bernaschi, M. Bisson (CNR); F. Salvadore (Cineca)

We present and compare the performances of two many-core architectures: the Nvidia Kepler and the Intel MIC both in a single system and in cluster configuration for the simulation of spin systems. As a benchmark we consider the time required to update a single spin of the 3D Heisenberg spin glass model by using the Over-relaxation algorithm. We present data also for a traditional high-end multi-core architecture: the Intel Sandy Bridge. The results show that although on the two Intel architectures it is possible to use basically the same code, the performances of a Intel MIC change dramatically depending on (apparently) minor details. Another issue is that to obtain a reasonable scalability with the Intel Phi coprocessor (Phi is the coprocessor that implements the MIC architecture) in a cluster configuration it is necessary to use the so-called offload mode which reduces the performances of the single system. As to the GPU, the Kepler architecture offers a clear advantage with respect to the previous Fermi architecture maintaining exactly the same source code. Scalability of the multi-GPU implementation remains very good by using the CPU as a communication co-processor of the GPU. All source codes are provided for inspection and for double-checking the results. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Volume: 185  Issue: 10  Pages: 2495-2503
DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2014.05.026
Published: OCT 2014