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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Shared-Memory Parallel Probabilistic Graphical Modeling Optimization: Comparison of Threads, OpenMP, and Data-Parallel Primitives


This work examines performance characteristics of multiple shared-memory implementations of a probabilistic graphical modeling (PGM) optimization code, which forms the basis for an advanced, state-of-the art image segmentation method. The work is motivated by the need to accelerate scientific image analysis pipelines in use by experimental science, such as at x-ray light sources, and is motivated by the need for platform-portable codes that perform well across many different computational architectures. The primary focus of this work and its main contribution is an in-depth study of shared-memory parallel performance of different implementations, which include those using alternative parallelization approaches such as C11-threads, OpenMP, and data parallel primitives (DPPs). Our results show that, for this complex data-intensive algorithm, the DPP implementation exhibits better runtime performance, but also exhibits less favorable scaling characteristics than the C11-threads and OpenMP counterparts. Based upon a set of experiments that collect hardware performance counters on multiple platforms, the reason for the runtime performance difference appears to be due primarily to algorithmic efficiency gains: the reformulation from the traditional C11-threads and OpenMP expression of the solution into that of data parallel primitives results in significantly fewer instructions being executed. This study is the first of its type to do performance analysis using hardware counters for comparing methods based on VTK-m-based data-parallel primitives with those based on more traditional OpenMP or threads-based parallelism. It is timely, as there is increasing awareness of the need for platform portability in light of increasing node-level parallelism and increasing device heterogeneity.

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