Published October 5, 2021 | Version v1
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Task-Based Performance Portability in HPC

  • 1. Inria
  • 2. BSC
  • 3. University of Vienna


As HPC hardware continues to evolve and diversify and workloads become more dynamic and complex, applications need to be expressed in a way that facilitates high performance across a range of hardware and situations. The main application code should be platform-independent, malleable and asynchronous with an open, clean, stable and dependable interface between the higher levels of the application, library or programming model and the kernels and software layers tuned for the machine. The platform-independent part should avoid direct references to specific resources and their availability, and instead provide the information needed to optimise behaviour.

This paper summarises how task abstraction, which first appeared in the 1990s and is already mainstream in HPC, should be the basis for a composable and dynamic performance-portable interface. It outlines the innovations that are required in the programming model and runtime layers, and highlights the need for a greater degree of trust among application developers in the ability of the underlying software layers to extract full performance. These steps will help realise the vision for performance portability across current and future architectures and problems.


This work was supported by the Spanish Government (contract PID2019-107255GB), Generalitat de Catalunya (contract 2014-SGR-1051), and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements No 955606 (DEEP-SEA) and No 754337 (EuroEXA). Paul Carpenter holds the Ramon y Cajal fellowship under contracts RYC2018-025628-I of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain. This work was supported by the French Government (contract ANR-19-CE46-0009), Région Nouvelle Aquitaine (contract 018-1R50119) and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements No 671602 (INTERTWinE) and No 801015 (EXA2PRO). This work was supported by the Austrian Science Fund grant P29783.



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INTERTWINE – Programming Model INTERoperability ToWards Exascale (INTERTWinE) 671602
European Commission
EXA2PRO – Enhancing Programmability and boosting Performance Portability for Exascale Computing Systems 801015
European Commission
EuroEXA – Co-designed Innovation and System for Resilient Exascale Computing in Europe: From Applications to Silicon 754337
European Commission
European Commission


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