Knights Landing Hackathon at Brookhaven

On February 26-March 2, 2018, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) hosted a hackathon targeting the Intel Xeon Phi (formerly code-named Knights Landing, or KNL) processors for scientists to come together to optimize their application code performance on the KNL-based supercomputers. Out of the five teams who participated, two teams came from the high energy physics community:

  • APES (Accelerator Particle Energy Simulator): A code for tracking particle-device and particle-particle interactions that has the potential to be used as the design platform for future particle accelerators. Team members all came from BNL.
  • ART: a code for simulating the formation of structures in the universe, particularly galaxy clusters. Team members came from Yale University and University of Miami.

Each team was paired with a mentor with similar scientific background. They also had access to four floating mentors from Intel who brought expertise in OpenMP, Intel hardware architectures, compilers and performance profiling tools. The teams worked with their mentors for five days in a hands-on setting. By the end of the week, all teams achieved significant performance improvements for their codes, with ART and APES achieving >2X and >5X speedup, respectively.