difference between threadIdx, blockIdx statements

can someone explain to me the difference between
threadIdx.x, threadIdx.y and its other variant

blockIdx.x , blockIdx.y and its other variant .

The best way to understand these values is to look at some of the schematics in the Introduction to CUDA Programming document, but I’ll an explanation a shot.

Basically threadIdx.x and threadIdx.y are the numbers associated with each thread within a block. Let’s say you declare your block size to be one dimensional with a size of 8 threads (normally you would want something in multiples of 32 like 192 or 256 depending on your specific code). The variable threadIdx.x would be simultaneously 0,1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 inside each block. If you declared a two dimensional block size (say (3,3) ) then threadIdx.x would be 0,1,2 and you would now have a threadIdx.y value corresponding to 0,1,2. There are actually nine threads associated with the (3,3) block size. For instance, the thread indices (0,0) (0,1) (1,2) etc refer to independent threads. This convention is very useful for two dimensional applications like working with matrices. Remember, threadIdx.x starts at 0 for each block. Your block can be up to three dimensions which allows for a threadIdx.z index as well.

The blockIdx.x and blockIdx.y refers to the label associated with a block in a grid. You are allowed up to a 2-dimensional grid (allowing for blockIdx.x and blockIdx.y). Basically, the blockIdx.x variable is similar to the thread index except it refers to the number associated with the block.

Let’s say you want 2 blocks in a 1D grid with 5 threads in each block. Your threadIdx.x would be 0, 1,…,4 for each block and your blockIdx.x would be 0 and 1 depending on the specific block.

Now, let’s say you want to load an array of 10 values into a kernel using these two blocks of 5 threads. How would you do this since your thread index only goes 0 - 4 for each block? You would use a third parameter given in CUDA – blockDim.x. This holds the size of the block (in this case blockDim.x = 5). You can refer to the specific element in the array by saying something like…

int idx = blockDim.x*blockIdx.x + threadIdx.x

This makes idx = 0,1,2,3,4 for the first block because blockIdx.x for the first block is 0. The second block picks up where the first left off because blockIdx.x = 1 and blockDim.x = 5. This makes idx = 5,6,7,8,9 for the second block.

Once again, refer to the beginner manual for more on this subject. Hope this helps.

Thanks a lot for that

Thanks a lot that was very helpful.

In my case I’ve 100 elements. I want to use 10 threads per block.

num_blocks = 100 / num_threads;

So num_blocks=10. So 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 are the block indices here i.e. blockIdx.x

And threadIdx.x will be also again 0,1,2,3…8,9

What is the value of blockDim.x? How to findout it? Is it the same value as number of threads per block i.e. 10? (Atleast in 1D block, 1 D thread model)

I am not sure if you are still following this but I am obligated to answer your question.

blockDim.’?’ - refers to the number of threads in the block at that dimension. Here, ‘?’ is either x, y or z since a block can have a 3-D representation of threads(in a block). This is in contrast to a grid which can have at most a 2-D representation of blocks in a grid(the bigger picture) i.e. only a ‘x’ and a ‘y’ dimension.
In the example cited above, blockDim.x is the same as the number of threads in the block i.e 10, since the block in question is 1-D and hence has only a ‘x’ dimension.

Good starting point for beginners is available here.

Great explanation! After watching a few basic CUDA videos on youtube I was still a bit confused one their meanings but this cleared everything up.