[R-sig-hpc] Intel Phi Coprocessor?

Norm Matloff matloff at cs.ucdavis.edu
Mon Jun 10 20:23:39 CEST 2013

I have not yet used the device, but my understanding is that it would
take some fiddling to even make it run R's parallel/multicore (multiple
forked processes).  They mean it when they call it a coprocessor, so it
is somewhat like a GPU.  There are issues with the host processor memory
versus the coprocessor memory, etc.  

On the other hand, it is set up to use OpenMP, which makes C/C++/Fortran
programming fairly easy.  Thus selected operations in R could be
extended to a version involving this hardware.

I mentioned this device in my 2012 useR! talk, in the context of the
Thrust library, which features multiple backends, including CUDA and
OpenMP.  I argued that interfacing R to Thrust allows one to "hedge
one's bets" in guessing whether Intel or NVIDIA will ultimately prevail
in this market segment.


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