Issue with automatic array in device subroutine defined with OpenACC directive

I am experiencing a problem with the performance of my application when using an automatic array in a device subroutine defined with the “!$acc routine seq” derivative.

The automatic array is allocated in heap (global) memory using malloc, which results in interthread locking and significant performance degradation. Even when using the “-Mstack_arrays” compiler option, malloc is still being used.

Please find below an example program:


program main
  use omp_lib
  use sub
  implicit none

  integer, parameter :: nitr = 100
  integer :: KA, IA
  real(RP), allocatable :: x(:,:), y(:,:)
  real(8) :: et, ts
  integer :: i, n

  KA = 32
  IA = 10000
  allocate(x(KA,IA), y(KA,IA))
  x(:,:) = 1.0_RP

  !$acc data copyin(x) copyout(y)

  et = 0.0d0
  do n = 1, nitr
     ts = omp_get_wtime()
     !$acc parallel
     !$acc loop independent
     do i = 1, IA
        call oneD(KA, x(:,i), y(:,i))
     end do
     !$acc end parallel
     et = et + ( omp_get_wtime() - ts )
  end do

  !$acc end data

  write(*,*)"error: ", sum( abs(y-1.0_RP) )
  write(*,*)"TIME: ", et

end program main


module sub
  implicit none
  integer, parameter :: RP = 8
  subroutine oneD( &
       KA, &
       X, Y )
    !$acc routine seq nohost
    implicit none
    integer,  intent(in), value :: KA
    real(RP), intent(in)  :: X(KA)
    real(RP), intent(out)  :: Y(KA)

    real(RP) :: work(KA) ! automatic array
    integer  :: k
    do k = 1, KA
       work(k) = X(k)
    end do
    do k = 1, KA
       Y(k) = work(k)
    end do
  end subroutine oneD
end module sub

This program takes about 0.67 seconds to execute.

I have found that if I use alloca instead of malloc to allocate the automatic array in the stack, the execution time is much shorter (about 0.0027 seconds).

extern "C" {
__device__ void sub_oned_(int ka, double *x, double *y)
  double *z;
  z = (double*) alloca(ka * sizeof(double));
  for(int k=0; k<ka; k++)
    z[k] = x[k];
  for(int k=0; k<ka; k++)
    y[k] = z[k];

My question is,
do you plan to use alloca with the “-Mstack_arrays” option?

Thank you.

Hi seiya1,

As far as I’m aware, no.

In general, we recommend not using automatics in device code.

My issue with allocating on the stack, is that the stack size on the GPU is very small. While both the device stack and heap can be increased via environment variables (NVCOMPILER_ACC_CUDA_HEAPSIZE, NVCOMPILER_ACC_CUDA_STACKSIZE), the stack has a hard limit. Hence for many programs, you’d encounter a stack overflow.

However, I went ahead and added a new RFE, TPR #33258, and will let our engineers evaluate the request.


Hi Mat,

Thank you for your response and consideration, and I understand your concern about stack overflow on the GPU.
Nonetheless, I believe that having the option to use the stack can be a beneficial addition for application developers, as it provides them with more implementation choices.

Once again, I appreciate your response and the consideration of the new feature request.