W. D. Gropp, D. K. Kaushik, D. E. Keyes, and B. F. Smith, "Performance Modeling and Tuning of an Unstructured Mesh CFD Application," Preprint ANL/MCS-P833-0700, July 2000. [pdf]
This paper describes performance tuning experiences with a three-dimensional unstructured grid Euler flow code from NASA, which we have reimplemented in the PETSc framework and ported to several large-scale machines, including the ASCI Red and Blue Pacific machines, the SGI Origin, the Cray T3E, and Beowulf clusters. The code achieves a respectable level of performance for sparse problems, typical of scientific and engineering codes based on partial differential equations, and scales well up to thousands of processors. Since the gap between CPU speed and memory access rate is widening, the code is analyzed from a memory-centric perspective (in contrast to traditional flop-orientation) to understand its sequential and parallel performance. Performance tuning is approached on three fronts: data layouts to enhance locality of reference, algorithmic parameters, and parallel programming model. This effort was guided partly by some simple performance models developed for the sparse matrix-vector product operation.