Supporting OpenMP on Cell

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Abstract

The Cell processor is a heterogeneous multi-core processor with one power processing engine (PPE) core and eight synergistic processing engine (SPE) cores. There is a significant amount of ongoing research in programming models and tools that attempts to make it easy to exploit the computation power of the Cell architecture. In our work, we explore supporting OpenMP on the Cell processor. It is attractive to support OpenMP because programmers can continue using their familiar programming model, and existing code can be re-used. We base our work on IBM's XL compiler, and developed new components in the XL compiler and a new runtime library. Three major issues are addressed: (1) synchronization support on heterogeneous cores; (2) code generation targeting the different instruction sets; (3) data transfers and implement the OpenMP memory model. We present experimental results for some SPEC OMP 2001 and NAS benchmarks to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. A visualization tool based on Paraver is also used to provide some insights into actual thread and synchronization behaviors.

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