PyOP2 Kernels

Kernels in PyOP2 define the local operations that are to be performed for each element of the iteration set the kernel is executed over. There must be a one to one match between the arguments declared in the kernel signature and the actual arguments passed to the parallel loop executing this kernel. As described in PyOP2 Concepts, data is accessed directly on the iteration set or via mappings passed in the par_loop() call.

The kernel only sees data corresponding to the current element of the iteration set it is invoked for. Any data read by the kernel i.e. accessed as READ, RW or INC is automatically gathered via the mapping relationship in the staging in phase and the kernel is passed pointers to the staging memory. Similarly, after the kernel has been invoked, any modified data i.e. accessed as WRITE, RW or INC is scattered back out via the Map in the staging out phase. It is only safe for a kernel to manipulate data in the way declared via the access descriptor in the parallel loop call. Any modifications to an argument accessed read-only would not be written back since the staging out phase is skipped for this argument. Similarly, the result of reading an argument declared as write-only is undefined since the data has not been staged in.

Kernel API

Consider a par_loop() computing the midpoint of a triangle given the three vertex coordinates. Note that we make use of a covenience in the PyOP2 syntax, which allow declaring an anonymous DataSet of a dimension greater one by using the ** operator. We omit the actual data in the declaration of the Map cell2vertex and Dat coordinates.

vertices = op2.Set(num_vertices)
cells = op2.Set(num_cells)

cell2vertex = op2.Map(cells, vertices, 3, [...])

coordinates = op2.Dat(vertices ** 2, [...], dtype=float)
midpoints = op2.Dat(cells ** 2, dtype=float)

op2.par_loop(midpoint, cells,
             midpoints(op2.WRITE),
             coordinates(op2.READ, cell2vertex))

Kernels are implemented in a restricted subset of C99 and are declared by passing a C code string and the kernel function name, which must match the name in the C kernel signature, to the Kernel constructor:

midpoint = op2.Kernel("""
void midpoint(double p[2], double *coords[2]) {
  p[0] = (coords[0][0] + coords[1][0] + coords[2][0]) / 3.0;
  p[1] = (coords[0][1] + coords[1][1] + coords[2][1]) / 3.0;
}""", "midpoint")

Since kernels cannot return any value, the return type is always void. The kernel argument p corresponds to the third par_loop() argument midpoints and coords to the fourth argument coordinates respectively. Argument names need not agree, the matching is by position.

Data types of kernel arguments must match the type of data passed to the parallel loop. The Python types float and numpy.float64 correspond to a C double, numpy.float32 to a C float, int or numpy.int64 to a C long and numpy.int32 to a C int.

Direct par_loop() arguments such as midpoints are passed to the kernel as a double *, indirect arguments such as coordinates as a double ** with the first indirection due to the map and the second indirection due the data dimension. The kernel signature above uses arrays with explicit sizes to draw attention to the fact that these are known. We could have interchangibly used a kernel signature with plain pointers:

void midpoint(double * p, double ** coords)

Argument creation supports an optional flag flatten, which is used for kernels which expect data to be laid out by component:

midpoint = op2.Kernel("""
void midpoint(double p[2], double *coords[1]) {
  p[0] = (coords[0][0] + coords[1][0] + coords[2][0]) / 3.0;
  p[1] = (coords[3][0] + coords[4][0] + coords[5][0]) / 3.0;
}""", "midpoint")

op2.par_loop(midpoint, cells,
             midpoints(op2.WRITE),
             coordinates(op2.READ, cell2vertex, flatten=True))

Data layout

Data for a Dat declared on a Set is stored contiguously for all elements of the set. For each element, this is a contiguous chunk of data of a shape given by the DataSet dim and the datatype of the Dat. The size of this chunk is the product of the extents of the dim tuple times the size of the datatype.

During execution of the par_loop(), the kernel is called for each element of the iteration set and passed data for each of its arguments corresponding to the current set element i only.

For a directly accessed argument such as midpoints above, the kernel is passed a pointer to the beginning of the chunk of data for the element i the kernel is currently called for. In CUDA/OpenCL i is the global thread id since the kernel is launched in parallel for all elements.

Data layout for a directly accessed Dat argument with dim 2

For an indirectly accessed argument such as coordinates above, PyOP2 gathers pointers to the data via the Map cell2vertex used for the indirection. The kernel is passed a list of pointers of length corresponding to the arity of the Map, in the example above 3. Each of these points to the data chunk for the element in the target Set given by Map entries (i, 0), (i, 1) and (i, 2).

Data layout for a Dat argument with dim 2 indirectly accessed through a Map of arity 3

If the argument is created with the keyword argument flatten set to True, a flattened vector of pointers is passed to the kernel. This vector is of length dim * arity (where dim is the product of the extents of the dim tuple), which is 6 in the example above. Each entry points to a single data value of the Dat. The ordering is by component of dim i.e. the first component of each data item for each element in the target set pointed to by the map followed by the second component etc.

Data layout for a flattened Dat argument with dim 2 indirectly accessed through a Map of arity 3

Local iteration spaces

PyOP2 supports complex kernels with large local working set sizes, which may not run very efficiently on architectures with a limited amount of registers and on-chip resources. In many cases the resource usage is proportional to the size of the local iteration space the kernel operates on.

Consider a finite-element local assembly kernel for vector-valued basis functions of second order on triangles. There are kernels more complex and computing considerably larger local tensors commonly found in finite-element computations, in particular for higher-order basis functions, and this kernel only serves to illustrate the concept. For each element in the iteration set, this kernel computes a 12x12 local tensor:

void kernel(double A[12][12], ...) {
  ...
  // loops over the local iteration space
  for (int j = 0; j < 12; j++) {
    for (int k = 0; k < 12; k++) {
      A[j][k] += ...
    }
  }
}

PyOP2 invokes this kernel for each element in the iteration set:

for (int ele = 0; ele < nele; ++ele) {
  double A[12][12];
  ...
  kernel(A, ...);
}

To improve the efficiency of executing complex kernels on manycore platforms, their operation can be distributed among several threads which each compute a single point in this local iteration space to increase the level of parallelism and to lower the amount of resources required per thread. In the case of the kernel above we obtain:

void mass(double A[1][1], ..., int j, int k) {
  ...
  A[0][0] += ...
}

Note how the doubly nested loop over basis function is hoisted out of the kernel, which receives its position in the local iteration space to compute as additional arguments j and k. PyOP2 then calls the kernel for each element of the local iteration space for each set element:

for (int ele = 0; ele < nele; ++ele) {
  double A[1][1];
  ...
  for (int j = 0; j < 12; j++) {
    for (int k = 0; k < 12; k++) {
      kernel(A, ..., j, k);
    }
  }
}

On manycore platforms, the local iteration space does not translate into a loop nest, but rather into a larger number of threads being launched to compute each of its elements:

Local iteration space for a kernel computing a 12x12 local tensor

PyOP2 needs to be told to loop over this local iteration space by indexing the corresponding maps with an IterationIndex i in the par_loop() call.

Table Of Contents

Previous topic

PyOP2 Concepts

Next topic

The PyOP2 Intermediate Representation

This Page