A Survey on Hardware-aware and Heterogeneous Computing on Multicore Processors and Accelerators

  • Rainer Buchty (Author)
  • Vincent Heuveline (Author)
    Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab (EMCL), Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR), Heidelberg University
  • Wolfgang Karl (Author)
  • Jan-Philipp Weiss (Author)


The paradigm shift towards multicore technologies is offering a great potential of computational power for scientific and industrial applications. It is, however, posing considerable challenges to software development. This problem is impaired by increasing heterogeneity of hardware platforms on both, processor level, and by adding dedicated accelerators. Performance gains for data- and compute-intensive applications can currently only be achieved by exploiting coarse- and fine-grained parallelism on all system levels, and improved scalability with respect to constantly increasing core counts. A key methodology is hardware-aware computing where in all production steps explicit knowledge of processor, memory, and network details is profitably utilized.

In this work we provide a survey on current multicore and accelerator technologies. We outline architectural features and show, how these features are exposed to the programmer and how they can be beneficially utilized in the application-mapping process. In particular, we characterize the discrepancy to conventional parallel platforms with respect to hierarchical memory sub-systems, fine-grained parallelism on several system levels, and chip- and system-level heterogeneity. We motivate the necessity of hardware-aware computing and summarize the challenges arising from high-performance heterogeneous computing. Furthermore, we investigate the interaction of hardware and application characteristics for selected applications in numerical simulation.




The Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab (EMCL), directed by Prof. Dr. Vincent Heuveline, is a research group at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR).

The EMCL Preprint Series contains publications that were accepted for the Preprint Series of the EMCL and are planned to be published in journals, books, etc. soon.

The EMCL Preprint Series was published under the roof of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) until April 30, 2013. As from May 01, 2013 it is published under the roof of Heidelberg University.