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The View from IWOMP 2010 (Trip Report)

By Archive User posted Fri June 18, 2010 08:08 PM


Originally posted by: Michael_Wong

This week was the 2010 International Workshop on OpenMP (IWOMP) in the Science City Tsukuba, where we meet annually to showcase the latest research of parallel computing and OpenMP. There is also an OpenMP language committee meeting immediately following which allow us to discuss future enhancements to OpenMP 3.1.

At IWOMP, the keynote was given by Mike Heroux from Sandia National Lab, with two invited talks from Michael Wolfe from PGI and Hans Boehm from HP. Mike Heroux's talk was about mixing MPI with any number of other parallel programming pradigm (OpenMP, TBB, x) to enable a more powerful brand of parallelism. Michael Wolfe's talk was about leveraging accelerator design for the future. Hans Boehm's talk was about ways to make the OpenMP memory model less inconsistent. All three keynotes were excellent talks given by superb speakers. I personally always enjoy listening to these speakers.

There is one part where Hans suggested a sequentially consistent (SC) atomics syntax for OpenMP, so that it can support proper thread communication. I am not convinced this is what OpenMP is used for and as such its current form of relaxed atomics may be acceptable. As long as SC atomics is not the default, I do not object to having additional memory models supported by OpenMP atomics, as it is in C++0x but at some point I worry about how much we are duplicating the base language facility. Hans also left the choice up to us to decide what is appropriate and useful for OpenMP's future. I thank-him for his many insights.

There were many other offers from IWOMP. I checked out the great OpenMP tutorial that is usually run on Monday, by Ruud Van de Pas. This was followed by the reception where we met many people from the conference. A conference in Asia tends to bring in participation from a different area of the world, and this time I met attendees from Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and of course the usual friends from Europe and Americas.

The paper presentation portion covered a wide range of research interest including

-Runtime and Optimization
-Scheduling and Performance
-Extension to OpenMP
-Hybrid Programming models


My two talks were well received, or at least there were no embarrassing questions.

The Error model is observed to be needed for OpenMP in order for it to expand into commercial computing. Transactional Memory is based on our alphaWorks compiler and is a potential future addition to OpenMP.

There was a poster session where additional work was exposed and there was a great deal of interest in our poster and its possibilities.

For many of us on the OpenMP language committee, there was significant additional work after IWOMP, as we have language meetings afterward until Saturday. In the language committee meetings, we are trying to close items on OpenMP 3.1 as well as continue work on future items. Bronis de Supinski gave an overview of that near the end of the IWOMP meeting in a panel discussion.

Right now, the major items that we are working on are:
1. User-defined reductions
2. Task Final
3. Affinity
4. Improved OpenMP Atomics
5. Some Affinity
6. Memory Model updates

This list could change, but in later posts I will describe in a little more detail what these items are.

For 4.0, we are working on
1. Error Model
2. Accelerators
3. Interoperability

IWOMP was closed with a vigorous panel discussion on Exaflop computing. So projection claims that 2019 is the year of Exaflop computing? This is the projection based on previous trends at which various flops would be reached. Petaflop was crossed when IBM's Roadrunner and Cray's Jaguar definitely crossed the line in 2008, well ahead of projection. I wonder if Exaflop will be similar, but consider that it will have to be 1000 times faster then Roadrunner.
Nevertheless, technology often surprises us with their speed and it would not surprise me if we were to reach Exaflop by 2015.

Finally, I want to use this chance to thank our host and his team of tireless members for providing the wonderful facility in Tsukuba, and guiding us along in the city to the many venues, often going beyond the call of duty. They printed posters for us, answered our questions as "Gaijin", and often served as translators in unfamiliar settings. The wireless worked flawlessly and the Epochal International Congress Center in Tsukuba is beautiful.Thank-you Sato-San.

Now it is time to announce the 2011 IWOMP which will be in Chicago on June 13-15. See you there!