From Modelado Foundation

Team Members U. of Utah, ANL, LBNL, USC/ISI
PI Mary Hall
Co-PIs Paul Hovland (ANL), Samuel Williams (LBNL), Jacqueline Chame (USC/ISI)
Download {{{download}}}

Autotuning for Exascale or X-TUNE - Self-Tuning Software to manage Heterogeneity

Team Members

What is Autotuning?


  • Automatically generate a “search space” of possible implementations of a computation
    • A code variant represents a unique implementation of a computation, among many
    • A parameter represents a discrete set of values that govern code generation or execution of a variant
  • Measure execution time and compare
  • Select the best-performing implementation (for exascale, tradeoff between performance/energy/reliability)

Key Issues:

  • Identifying the search space
  • Pruning the search space to manage costs
  • Off-line vs. on-line search

Three Types of Autotuning Systems

  • Autotuning libraries
    • Library that encapsulates knowledge of its performance under different execution environments
    • Dense linear algebra: ATLAS, PhiPAC
    • Sparse linear algebra: OSKI
    • Signal processing: SPIRAL, FFTW
  • Application-specific autotuning
    • Active Harmony provides parallel rank order search for tunable parameters and variants
    • Sequoia and PetaBricks provide language mechanism for expressing tunable parameters and variants
  • Compiler-based autotuning
    • Other examples: Saday et al., Swany et al., Eignenmann et al.
    • Related concepts: iterative compilation, learning-based compilation

X-TUNE Goals

A unified autotuning framework that seamlessly integrates programmer-directed and compiler-directed autotuning

  • Expert programmer and compiler work collaboratively to tune a code
    • Unlike previous systems that place the burden on either programmer or compiler
    • Provides access to compiler optimizations, offering expert programmers the control over optimization they so often desire
  • Design autotuning to be encapsulated in domain-specific tools
    • Enables less-sophisticated users of the software to reap the benefit of the expert programmers’ efforts
  • Focus on Adaptive Mesh Refinement Multigrid (Combustion Co-Design Center, BoxLib, Chombo) and tensor contractions (TCE)

Project Impact

X-TUNE Structure


Autotuning Language Extensions

  • Tunable Variables
    • An annotation on the type of a variable (as in Sequoia)
    • Additionally, specify range, constraints and a default value
  • Computation Variants
    • An annotation on the type of a function (as in PetaBricks)
    • Additionally, specify (partial) selection criteria
    • Multiple variants may be composed in the same execution

Separate mapping description captures architecture-specific aspects of autotuning.

Compiler-Based Autotuning

  • Foundational Concepts
    • Identify search space through a high-level description that captures a large space of possible implementations
    • Prune space through compiler domain knowledge and architecture features
    • Provide access to programmers with transformation recipes, or recipes generated automatically by compiler decision algorithm
    • Uses source-to-source transformation for portability, and to leverage vendor code generation
    • Requires restructuring of the compiler

CHiLL Implementation


Transformation Recipes for Autotuning

Incorporate the Best Ideas from Manual Tuning


Compiler + Autotuning can yield comparable and even better performance than manually-tuned libraries


Pbound: Performance Modeling for Autotuning

  • Performance modeling increases the automation in autotuning
    • Manual transformation recipe generation is tedious and error-prone
    • Implicit models are not portable across platforms
  • Models can unify programmer guidance and compiler analysis
    • Programmer can invoke integrated models to guide autotuning from application code
    • Compiler can invoke models during decision algorithms
  • Models optimize autotuning search
    • Identify starting points
    • Prune search space to focus on most promising solutions
    • Provide feedback from updates in response to code modifications

Reuse Distance and Cache Miss Prediction

Reuse distance

  • For regular (affine) array references
    • Compute reuse distance, to predict data footprints in memory hierarchy
    • Guides transformation and data placement decisions


Cache miss prediction

  • Use to predict misses
  • Assuming fully associative cache with n lines (optimistic case), a reference will hit if the reuse distance d<n


Application Signatures + Architecture


How will modeling be used?

  • Single-core and multicore models for application performance will combine architectural information, user-guidance, and application analysis
  • Models will be coupled with decision algorithms to automatically generate CHiLL transformation recipes
    • Input: Reuse Information, Loop Information etc.
    • Output: Set of transformation scripts to be used by empirical search
  • Feedback to be used to refine model parameters and behavior
  • Small and large application execution times will be considered

Example: Stencils and Multigrid

  • Stencil performance bound, when bandwidth limited:
 Performance (gflops) <= stencil flops * STREAM bandwidth / grid size
  • Multigrid solves Au=f by calculating a number of corrections to an initial solution at varying grid coarsenings (“V-cycle”)
    • Each level in the v-cycle: perform 1-4 relaxes (~stencil sweeps)
    • Repeat multiple v-cycles reducing the norm of the residual by an order of magnitude each cycle


Multigrid and Adaptive Mesh Refinement

  • Some regions of the domain may require finer fidelity than others
  • In Adaptive Mesh Refinement, we refine those regions to a higher resolution in time and space
  • Typically, one performs a multigrid “level solve” for one level (green, blue, red) at a time
  • Coarse-fine boundaries (neighboring points can be at different resolutions) complicate the calculation of the RHS and ghost zones for the level
  • Each level is a collection of small (323 or 643) boxes to minimize unnecessary work
  • These boxes will be distributed across the machine for load balancing (neighbors are not obvious/implicit)

Autotuning for AMR Multigrid

  • Focus is addressing data movement, multifaceted:
    • Automate fusion of stencils within an operator. Doing so may entail aggregation of communication (deeper ghost zones)
    • Extend and automate the communication-avoiding techniques developed in CACHE
    • Automate application of data movement-friendly coarse-fine boundary conditions
    • Automate hierarchical parallelism within a node to AMR MG codes
    • Explore alternate data structures
    • Explore alternate stencil algorithms (higher order, …)
  • Proxy architectures: MIC, BG/Q, GPUs
  • Encapsulate into an embedded DSL approach

Summary and Leverage

  • Build integrated end-to-end autotuning, focused on AMR multigrid and tensor contractions
    • Language and compiler guidance of autotuning
    • Programmer and compiler collaborate to tune a code
    • Modeling assists programmer, compiler writer, and search space pruning
  • Leverage and integrate with other X-Stack teams
    • Our compiler technology all based on ROSE so can leverage from and provide capability to ROSE
    • Domain-specific technology to facilitate encapsulating our autotuning strategies
    • Collaborate with MIT on autotuning interface
    • Common run-time for a variety of platforms (e.g., GPUs and MIC), and supports a large number of potentially hierarchical threads


  • Publications
    • H. Zhang, A. Venkat, P. Basu and M. Hall, "On Combining Polyhedral and AST Transformations," International Workshop on Polyhedral Compilation Techniques, Jan. 2016.
    • P. Basu, "Compiler Optimizations and Autotuning for Stencil Computations and Geometric Multigrid," PhD dissertation, University of Utah, December 2015.
    • T. Nelson, "DSLs and Search for Linear Algebra Performance Optimization," PhD dissertation, University of Colorado, December 2015.
    • T. Nelson, A. Rivera, M. Hall, P.D. Hovland, E. Jessup and B. Norris, "Generating Efficient Tensor Contractions for GPUs, International Conference on Parallel Processing, Sept., 2015.
    • P. Basu, S. Williams, B. V. Straalen, M. Hall, L. Oliker, P. Colella, "Compiler-Directed Transformation for Higher-Order Stencils, International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS), 2015.
    • A. Rivera. "Using Autotuning for Accelerating Tensor-Contraction on GPUs", Masters thesis, University of Utah, December 2014.
    • P. Basu, S. Williams, B. V. Straalen, L. Oliker, M. Hall, ``Converting Stencils to Accumulations for Communication-Avoiding Optimization in Geometric Multigrid, Workshop on Stencil Computations (WOSC), 2014.
    • P. Basu, A. Venkat, M. Hall, S. Williams, B. V. Straalen, L. Oliker, "Compiler generation and autotuning of communication-avoiding operators for geometric multigrid, 20th International Conference on High Performance Computing (HiPC), 2013.
    • P. Basu, M. Hall, M. Khan, S. Maindola, S. Muralidharan, S. Ramalingam, A. Rivera, M. Shantharam, A. Venkat. "Towards Making Autotuning Mainstream. International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications, 27(4), November 2013.
    • P. Basu, S. Williams, A. Venkat, B. Van Straalen, M. Hall, and L. Oliker. "Compiler generation and autotuning of communication-avoiding operators for geometric multigrid, In Workshop on Optimizing Stencil Computations (WOSC), 2013.
  • Other Software Products
    • miniGMG application proxy: extended to include high‐order stencil implementations
    • CHiLL and CUDA-CHiLL: new domain-specific transformations incorporated
    • Orio: new search algorithm incorporated and integration with CHiLL and CUDA-CHiLL
    • NWCHEM kernels: representative tensor computations released
    • PBound: new decision algorithm and integration with CHiLL
    • OCTOPI: tensor contraction domain-specific framework