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Strange Performance Hit on 2D-Loop


Hey guys,

I noticed a strange performance hit in one of our stencil codes,
causing it to run twice as long. 

To nail down the error, I reduced our code to the two attached demo
programs. Basically they take two matrices and average each matrix
element with its four direct neighbors. Depending on how these
matrices are allocated, the performance hit occurs -- or does not.

Here is the diff of the two files:
@@ -17,8 +17,7 @@

 void test(double (*grid)[GRID_WIDTH])
 {
-    double (*gridOld)[GRID_WIDTH] =
-        malloc(GRID_WIDTH * GRID_HEIGHT * sizeof(double));
+    double (*gridOld)[GRID_WIDTH] = gridOldArray;
     double (*gridNew)[GRID_WIDTH] = gridNewArray;
     printAddress(&gridNew[0][0]);
     printAddress(&gridOld[0][0]);

where gridOldArray is a statically allocated array. Depending on the
machines processor the performance hit varies from negligible to
dramatic:


Processor          GCC Version Time(slow) Time(fast) Performance Hit
------------------ ----------- ---------- ---------- ---------------
Core 2 Quad Q9550  4.3.3       12.19s      5.11s     138%
Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 4.3.3        7.34s      6.61s      11%
Opteron 2378       4.3.2        6.13s      5.60s       9%
Opteron 2352       4.3.3        8.16s      7.96s       2%
Xeon 3.00GHz       4.3.3       18.98s     14.67s      29%

Apparently Intel systems are more susceptible to this effect. 

Can anyone reproduce these results?
And could anyone explain, why this happens?

Thanks in advance
-Andreas


-- 
============================================
Andreas Schäfer
Cluster and Metacomputing Working Group
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany
0049/3641-9-46376
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#define GRID_WIDTH  1024
#define GRID_HEIGHT 1024
#define MAX_STEPS 1024

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

double grid[GRID_HEIGHT][GRID_WIDTH];
double gridNewArray[GRID_HEIGHT][GRID_WIDTH];
double gridOldArray[GRID_HEIGHT][GRID_WIDTH];

void printAddress(void *p)
{
    printf("address %p\n", p);
}

void test(double (*grid)[GRID_WIDTH])
{
    double (*gridOld)[GRID_WIDTH] = gridOldArray;
    double (*gridNew)[GRID_WIDTH] = gridNewArray;
    printAddress(&gridNew[0][0]);
    printAddress(&gridOld[0][0]);

    // copy initial state
    for (int y = 0; y < GRID_HEIGHT; ++y) {
        memcpy(&gridOld[y][0], &grid[y][0], GRID_WIDTH * sizeof(double));
        memset(&gridNew[y][0], 0, GRID_WIDTH * sizeof(double));
    }

    // update matrices
    for (int step = 0; step < MAX_STEPS; ++step) {
        for (int y = 1; y < GRID_HEIGHT-1; ++y) 
            for (int x = 1; x < GRID_WIDTH-1; ++x)
                gridNew[y][x] = 
                    (gridOld[y-1][x  ] + 
                     gridOld[y  ][x-1] + 
                     gridOld[y  ][x  ] + 
                     gridOld[y  ][x+1] + 
                     gridOld[y+1][x  ]) * 0.2;
        double (*tmp)[GRID_WIDTH] = gridOld;
        gridOld = gridNew;
        gridNew = tmp;
    }

    // copy result back
    for (int y = 0; y < GRID_HEIGHT; ++y)
        memcpy(&grid[y][0], &gridOld[y][0], GRID_WIDTH * sizeof(double));
}

void setupGrid()
{
    for (int y = 0; y < GRID_HEIGHT; ++y)
        for (int x = 0; x < GRID_WIDTH; ++x)
            grid[y][x] = 0;

    for (int y = 10; y < 20; ++y)
        for (int x = 10; x < 20; ++x)
            grid[y][x] = 1;
}

int main(int argc, char** argv)
{
    setupGrid();
    test(grid);
    printf("res: %f\n", grid[10][10]); // prevent dead code elimination
    return 0;
}

Attachment: slowdown.fast
Description: Binary data

Attachment: test.sh
Description: Bourne shell script

Attachment: pgp00000.pgp
Description: PGP signature


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