Practical Experience in the Numerical Dangers of Heterogeneous Computing

L. S. Blackford, A. Cleary, A. Petitet, R. C. Whaley, J. Demmel, I. Dhillon, H. Ren, K. Stanley, J. Dongarra, S. Hammarling

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Special challenges exist in writing reliable numerical library software for heterogeneous computing environments. Although a lot of software for distributed-memory parallel computers has been written, porting this software to a network of workstations requires careful consideration. The symptoms of heterogeneous computing failures can range from erroneous results without warning to deadlock. Some of the problems are straightforward to solve, but for others the solutions are not so obvious, or incur an unacceptable overhead. Making software robust on heterogeneous systems often requires additional communication. We describe and illustrate the problems encountered during the development of ScaLAPACK and the NAG Numerical PVM Library. Where possible, we suggest ways to avoid potential pitfalls, or if that is not possible, we recommend that the software not be used on heterogeneous networks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)133-147
    Number of pages14
    JournalACM Transactions on Mathematical Software
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


    • Algorithms
    • D.1.3 [Programming Techniques]: Concurrent Programming - distributed programming
    • Distributed-memory systems
    • Floating-point arithmetic
    • G.1.0 [Numerical Analysis]: General - computer arithmetic
    • Parallel algorithms
    • Reliability


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