Vol 16, No 1 (2016) / Huang

Performance analysis of parallel gravitational N-body codes on large GPU clusters

Si-Yi Huang, Rainer Spurzem, Peter Berczik


We compare the performance of two very different parallel gravitational N-body codes for astrophysical simulations on large Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) clusters, both of which are pioneers in their own fields as well as on certain mutual scales - NBODY6++ and Bonsai. We carry out benchmarks of the two codes by analyzing their performance, accuracy and efficiency through the modeling of structure decomposition and timing measurements. We find that both codes are heavily optimized to leverage the computational potential of GPUs as their performance has approached half of the maximum single precision performance of the underlying GPU cards. With such performance we predict that a speed-up of 200 − 300 can be achieved when up to 1k processors and GPUs are employed simultaneously. We discuss the quantitative information about comparisons of the two codes, finding that in the same cases Bonsai adopts larger time steps as well as larger relative energy errors than NBODY6++, typically ranging from 10 − 50 times larger, depending on the chosen parameters of the codes. Although the two codes are built for different astrophysical applications, in specified conditions they may overlap in performance at certain physical scales, thus allowing the user to choose either one by fine-tuning parameters accordingly.


methods: analytical — methods: data analysis — methods: numerical

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1674–4527/16/1/011


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