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Best Practices for Speed in Deep Learning Applications on Intel Architecture

July 3, 2018

You have set up a deep learning model that you are planning to train on an Intel architecture processor. In order to be productive, you have to minimize the training time. You run the application and see that it takes N seconds for a single training epoch. How do you know if it is good? If improvement is possible, what can you do to improve the training time? Are there tools to identify a tuning strategy? Intel software development tools can answer these questions to maximize your productivity in deep learning on Intel architecture. At the Intel AI DevCon 2018 in San Francisco, Alaa Eltablawy (Colfax) presented a workshop that demonstrates how this works. For the workshop, attendees received access to the Intel® AI DevCloud, where they could experiment with the optimization of a TensorFlow-based application for image segmentation. The instructor demonstrated the performance analysis results obtained with Intel® VTune Amplifier and Application Performance Snapshot and explained how this analysis consistently guides you to the use of known “performance tuning knobs” in [...]

An optimization approach for agent-based computational models of biological development

April 9, 2018

Pablo Gonzalez-de-Aledoa, Andrey Vladimirovd, Marco Mancab, Jerry Baughc, Ryo Asaid, Marcus Kaisere,f, Roman Bauerf,e a Software Performance Optimization Group, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom b CERN Openlab, IT Department, CERN, Switzerland c Intel Corporation, USA d Colfax International, USA e Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex BioSystems Research Group, School of Computing, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom f Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom   A paper led by Pablo Gonzales-de-Aledo (Imperial College London) with contributions from his colleagues from CERN, Intel, Colfax and Newcastle University was published in the journal Advances in Engineering Software. This is a case study on performance optimization in a biological simulation code. The code presents a highly parallel implementation of a computer simulation that involves millions of agents interacting in a 3D environment. The paper explains the general approach to transforming a sequential code to run on modern, highly [...]

Optimization of Real-Time Object Detection on Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors

November 11, 2017

This publication demonstrates the process of optimizing an object detection inference workload on an Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor using TensorFlow. This project pursues two objectives: Achieve object detection with real-time throughput (frame rate) and low latency Minimize the required computational resources In this case study, a model described in the “You Only Look Once” (YOLO) project is used for object detection. The model consists of two components: a convolutional neural network and a post-processing pipeline. In this work, the original Darknet model is converted to a TensorFlow model. First, the convolutional neural network is optimized for inference. Then array programming with NumPy and TensorFlow is implemented for the post-processing pipeline. Finally, environment variables and other configuration parameters are tuned to maximize the computational performance. With these optimizations, real-time object detection is achieved while using a fraction of the available processing power of an Intel Xeon Scalable processor-based system. [...]

A Performance-Based Comparison of C/C++ Compilers

November 11, 2017

This paper reports a performance-based comparison of six state-of-the-art C/C++ compilers: AOCC, Clang, G++, Intel C++ compiler, PGC++, and Zapcc. We measure two aspects of the compilers’ performance: The speed of compiled C/C++ code parallelized with OpenMP 4.x directives for multi-threading and vectorization. The compilation time for large projects with heavy C++ templating. In addition to measuring the performance, we interpret the results by examining the assembly instructions produced by each compiler. The tests are performed on an Intel Xeon Platinum processor featuring the Skylake architecture with AVX-512 vector instructions.  Colfax_Compiler_Comparison.pdf (562 KB) — this file is available only to registered users. Register or Log In. Table of Contents 1. The Importance of a Good Compiler 2. Testing Methodology 2.1. Meet the Compilers 2.2. Target Architecture 2.3. Computational Kernels 2.4. Compilation Time 2.5. Test Details 2.6. Test Platform 2.7. Code Analysis 3. Results 3.1. Performance of Compiled Code 3.2. Compilation Speed 4. Summary Appendix A. LU [...]

A Survey and Benchmarks of Intel® Xeon® Gold and Platinum Processors

November 7, 2017

This paper provides quantitative guidelines and performance estimates for choosing a processor among the Platinum and Gold groups of the Intel Xeon Scalable family (formerly Skylake). The performance estimates are based on detailed technical specifications of the processors, including the efficiency of the Intel Turbo Boost technology. The achievable performance metrics are experimentally validated on several processor models with synthetic workloads. The best choice of the processor must take into account the nature of the application for which the processor is intended: multi-threading or multi-processing efficiency, support for vectorization, and dependence on memory bandwidth.  Colfax-Xeon-Scalable.pdf (334 KB) — this file is available only to registered users. Register or Log In. Table of Contents 1. Which Xeon is Right for You? 2. CPU Comparison for Different Workloads 2.4. Bandwidth-Limited 3. Processor Choice Recommendations 4. Silver and Bronze Models 5. Large Memory, Integrated Fabric, Thermal Optimization Why are some sections grayed out? You are viewing an [...]

Capabilities of Intel® AVX-512 in Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors (Skylake)

September 19, 2017

This paper reviews the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX-512) instruction set and answers two critical questions: How do Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors based on the Skylake architecture (2017) compare to their predecessors based on Broadwell due to AVX-512? How are Intel Xeon processors based on Skylake different from their alternative, Intel® Xeon Phi™ processors with the Knights Landing architecture, which also feature AVX-512? We address these questions from the programmer’s perspective by demonstrating C language code of microkernels benefitting from AVX-512. For each example, we dig deeper and analyze the compilation practices, resultant assembly, and optimization reports. In addition to code studies, the paper contains performance measurements for a synthetic benchmark with guidelines on estimating peak performance. In conclusion, we outline the workloads and application domains that can benefit from the new features of AVX-512 instructions.  Colfax-SKL-AVX512-Guide.pdf (524 KB) — this file is available only to registered users. [...]