Unstructured Computational Aerodynamics on Many Integrated Core Architecture

Mohammed Al Farhan, Dinesh K. Kaushik, David E. Keyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Shared memory parallelization of the flux kernel of PETSc-FUN3D, an unstructured tetrahedral mesh Euler flow code previously studied for distributed memory and multi-core shared memory, is evaluated on up to 61 cores per node and up to 4 threads per core. We explore several thread-level optimizations to improve flux kernel performance on the state-of-the-art many integrated core (MIC) Intel processor Xeon Phi “Knights Corner,” with a focus on strong thread scaling. While the linear algebraic kernel is bottlenecked by memory bandwidth for even modest numbers of cores sharing a common memory, the flux kernel, which arises in the control volume discretization of the conservation law residuals and in the formation of the preconditioner for the Jacobian by finite-differencing the conservation law residuals, is compute-intensive and is known to exploit effectively contemporary multi-core hardware. We extend study of the performance of the flux kernel to the Xeon Phi in three thread affinity modes, namely scatter, compact, and balanced, in both offload and native mode, with and without various code optimizations to improve alignment and reduce cache coherency penalties. Relative to baseline “out-of-the-box” optimized compilation, code restructuring optimizations provide about 3.8x speedup using the offload mode and about 5x speedup using the native mode. Even with these gains for the flux kernel, with respect to execution time the MIC simply achieves par with optimized compilation on a contemporary multi-core Intel CPU, the 16-core Sandy Bridge E5 2670. Nevertheless, the optimizations employed to reduce the data motion and cache coherency protocol penalties of the MIC are expected to be of value for CFD and many other unstructured applications as many-core architecture evolves. We explore large-scale distributed-shared memory performance on the Cray XC40 supercomputer, to demonstrate that optimizations employed on Phi hybridize to this context, where each of thousands of nodes are comprised of two sockets of Intel Xeon Haswell CPUs with 32 cores per node.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-118
Number of pages22
JournalParallel Computing
StatePublished - Jun 11 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Unstructured Computational Aerodynamics on Many Integrated Core Architecture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this