Performance Characteristics of an Adaptive Mesh Refinement Calculation on Scalar and Vector
Adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) is a powerful technique that reduces the resources necessary to solve otherwise in-tractable problems in computational science. The AMR strategy solves the problem on a relatively coarse grid, and dynamically refines it in regions requiring higher resolution. However, AMR codes tend to be far more complicated than their uniform grid counterparts due to the software infrastructure necessary to dynamically manage the hierarchical grid framework. Despite this complexity, it is generally believed that future multi-scale applications will increasingly rely on adaptive methods to study problems at unprecedented scale and resolution. Recently, a new generation of parallel-vector architectures have become available that promise to achieve extremely high sustained performance for a wide range of applications, and are the foundation of many leadership-class computing systems worldwide. It is therefore imperative to understand the tradeoffs between conventional scalar and parallel-vector platforms for solving AMR-based calculations. In this paper, we examine the HyperCLaw AMR framework to compare and contrast performance on the Cray X1E, IBM Power3 and Power5, and SGI Altix. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that investigates and characterizes the performance of an AMR calculation on modern parallel-vector systems.