[MITgcm-support] OpenMP and multithreading

Constantinos Evangelinos ce107 at ocean.mit.edu
Thu Oct 18 05:40:12 EDT 2007

On Wednesday 17 October 2007 8:22:28 pm Dimitris Menemenlis wrote:
> Paola, the total size of the domain is Nx*Ny where
>       &           Nx  = sNx*nSx*nPx,
>       &           Ny  = sNy*nSy*nPy,
> nPx*nPy is the total number of (MPI) processes,
> nSx*nSy is the total number of tiles per process, and
> sNx*sNy is the dimension of each tile.
> For shared-memory threaded code each one of the nSx*nSy tiles will
> be handled by a different thread.  If nSx*nSy=1, then you will have
> only one thread per MPI process.

Actually the number of threads is set in eedata and is different for the X 
(nTx) and Y (nTy) direction (with their product nTx*nTy assumed to be equal 
to OMP_NUM_THREADS for OpenMP code). The obvious restriction is that the 
number of threads in X should be a divisor of sNx and the number of threads 
in Y should be a divisor of sNy. So it is entirely possible to have sNx=sNy=2 
and nTx=2, nTy=1.

> Some words of caution:
> 1) shared-memory threaded code is not as well supported as MPI code,
> especially in the packages where careless programmers (like myself)
> sometimes (accidentally) introduce constructs that break the threading.

You can look at the daily testreports with multithreading turned on to see 
which of the test cases appear to work. On some platforms (eg. Linux on PPC 
with the IBM XL compilers) we have complete lack of success for some unknown 
(so far) reason.

> 2) with some exceptions there is very little gain in using threaded code vs
> MPI code, even on shared memory platforms.  For example on the SGI origin
> and altix we typically use MPI rather than threaded code, even though they
> are shared memory platforms.

With dual and quad core processors we may need to revisit that question. For 
the time being however quad core seems to be suffering from a lack of memory 
bandwidth and OpenMP would not help there.

Dr. Constantinos Evangelinos
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

More information about the MITgcm-support mailing list