Implementing stencil problems in chapel: An experience report

Per Fuchs, Pieter Hijma, Clemens Grelck

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Stencil operations represent a fundamental class of algorithms in high-performance computing. We are interested in what level of performance can be expected from a highproductivity language such as Chapel. To this effect we discuss four different implementations of a generic stencil operation with a convergence check after each iteration.We start with a sequential implementation followed by a global-view implementation that we experiment with both on a 16-core multi-core system as well as on a cluster with up to 16 such nodes using domain maps. We finish with a local-view implementation that explicitly encodes all design decisions with respect to parallel execution. This paper is set up as a two stage experience report: We mainly report our findings from the users' perspective without any feedback from the Chapel implementers. We then report additional analysis performed under guidance of the Chapel team. Our experimental findings show that Chapel performs as expected on a single node. However, it does not achieve the expected levels of performance on our multi-node system, neither with the data-parallel global-view approach, nor with the taskparallel local-view code. We discuss the root causes of our reduced performance in detail and report possible solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHIUW 2019 - Proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN 6th Chapel Implementers and Users Workshop, co-located with PLDI 2019
EditorsBradford L. Chamberlain, Benjamin Robbins
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450368001
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2019
EventACM SIGPLAN 6th Annual Chapel Implementers and Users Workshop, CHIUW 2019, held in conjunction with PLDI 2019 - Phoenix, United States
Duration: 22 Jun 2019 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI)


ConferenceACM SIGPLAN 6th Annual Chapel Implementers and Users Workshop, CHIUW 2019, held in conjunction with PLDI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period22/06/19 → …


  • Chapel
  • Cluster computing
  • Experience report
  • Performance study
  • Stencil operation


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