Float compute example

This example computes y[i] = M[i] * x[i] + C on single precision floating point arrays with 2 million elements. It uses OpenCL to accelerate computation by dispatching an OpenCL NDRange kernel across the compute units (C66x cores) in the compute device. Refer Introduction for details on the number of compute units in a compute device for various TI SoCs. The example illustrates the following OpenCL features:

  • Using __malloc_ddr, a TI OpenCL extension, to reduce the overhead of dispatch
  • Using local memory to improve performance of OpenCL C code
  • Using an OpenCL vector type, float2, to further improve performance

This example consists of 2 source files:

  • main.cpp with the OpenCL host code. The host code is written using the OpenCL C++ Wrapper API. Code written using the C++ API is easier to read because it uses try-catch exception handling to detect and report errors (vs. having to check the return code on every API call)
  • dsp_compute.cl with OpenCL-C kernel code

The code in main.cpp consists of the following sections:

  1. OpenCL setup - this is boiler-plate code that is used to initialize OpenCL data structures such as contexts, devices and command queues
  2. Allocate arrays for input and output
  3. Initialize inputs
  4. Perform computation on ARM to get timing information on ARM and generate a “golden” array of output values
  5. Perform computation on OpenCL compute device (DSP)
  6. Check results by comparing DSP output against the ARM output
  7. Report performance data on ARM and DSP


Steps 3 through 6 are repeated 5 times and the ARM and DSP times reported is the average across the runs

The code in dsp_compute.cl consists of the following sections:

  1. Copy input arrays from global memory to local memory
  2. Perform the computation and store results to local memory
  3. Copy output array from local memory to global memory

Host Code (main.cpp)

OpenCL Setup

  • Create an OpenCL context with device type CL_DEVICE_TYPE_ACCELERATOR and query the context for devices. On the TI OpenCL implementation, CL_DEVICE_TYPE_ACCELERATOR is a device consisting of one or more C66x DSP cores.
std::vector<Device> devices = context.getInfo<CL_CONTEXT_DEVICES>();
  • Create an OpenCL program from the DSP binary

The DSP binary is built by the Makefile, refer ../make.inc for relevant rules. ocl_read_binary is a utility function provided by TI’s OpenCL implementation. Refer Compilation for details.

char *bin;
int bin_length = ocl_read_binary("dsp_compute.out", bin);

Program::Binaries   binary(1, std::make_pair(bin, bin_length));
Program             program = Program(context, devices, binary);

delete [] bin;

Allocate arrays

This section allocates space for the input and output arrays. __malloc_ddr is a TI OpenCL extension. Any memory region allocated via __malloc_ddr is accessible to both the ARM and the DSP and the OpenCL runtime performs the required cache operations to ensure consistency.

cl_float *M = (cl_float *)__malloc_ddr(sizeof(float) * NumElements);
cl_float *x = (cl_float *)__malloc_ddr(sizeof(float) * NumElements);
cl_float *y = (cl_float *)__malloc_ddr(sizeof(float) * NumElements);

Data synchronization between the host and compute device can be a significant source of overhead. This overhead has implications for the amount of computation that needs to be performed by OpenCL offload to outweigh the data synchronization overhead. Host variables can span multiple non-contiguous pages in Linux virtual memory whereas the OpenCL device operates on contiguous physical memory. When mapping variables from the Linux process space, the variables must be copied into contiguous memory for device operation. This copy is inefficient, especially for large variables. To eliminate the copy, TI’s OpenCL implementation provides a special purpose dynamic memory allocation API, __malloc_ddr() and __malloc_ msmc(). The physical memory associated with this heap is contiguous and is mapped to a contiguous chunk of virtual memory on the host. If any host variables allocated via this API are accessed on the device, the OpenCL runtime generates cache management operations on the host, significantly reducing the overhead. __malloc_msmc is available only on 66AK2x.

Compute on ARM

The computation on ARM is parallelized across 2 threads using the OpenMP 'parallel for' pragma.

#pragma omp parallel for num_threads(2)
for (int i=0; i < count; ++i)
    out[i] = in1[i] * in2[i] + C;

Compute on OpenCL device

  • Create OpenCL buffers to pass as arguments to the kernel. The CL_MEM_USE_HOST_PTR flag indicates that the backing storage for the buffer is provided by the host pointer (specified as the last argument).
const int BufSize = sizeof(float) * NumElements;
Buffer bufM(context,CL_MEM_READ_ONLY|CL_MEM_USE_HOST_PTR,  BufSize, M);
Buffer bufx(context,CL_MEM_READ_ONLY|CL_MEM_USE_HOST_PTR,  BufSize, x);
Buffer bufy(context,CL_MEM_WRITE_ONLY|CL_MEM_USE_HOST_PTR, BufSize, y);
  • Create a kernel object and set its arguments. The string “dsp_compute” corresponds to the name of the kernel function defined in dsp_compute.cl The kernel has been optimized to operate out of local memory. The required local buffers are passed as arguments to the kernel, one for each of the three arrays involved in the computation. The size of the local buffer is proportional to the number of work items in the work-group, specified by WorkGroupSize.
Kernel kernel(program, "dsp_compute");
kernel.setArg(0, bufM);
kernel.setArg(1, bufx);
kernel.setArg(2, C);
kernel.setArg(3, bufy);
kernel.setArg(4, __local(sizeof(cl_float2)*WorkGroupSize));
kernel.setArg(5, __local(sizeof(cl_float2)*WorkGroupSize));
kernel.setArg(6, __local(sizeof(cl_float2)*WorkGroupSize));
  • Dispatch the kernel and wait for it to complete
Event ev1;
Q.enqueueNDRangeKernel(kernel, NullRange, NDRange(NumVecElements),
                       NDRange(WorkGroupSize), NULL, &ev1);



Since the kernel operates on float2 vectors, the global NDRange is the number of vector elements in the input.

OpenCL C kernel code (dsp_compute.cl)

The kernel arguments are float2 vs. float because the C66x DSP core can perform single precision floating point multiply, add efficiently on float2 vectors.

Copy input arrays from global memory to local memory

Each work-group copies its chunk of input data from global memory to local memory. The offset of the chunk in global memory is determined by the work group id and the number of work items in the work group. This copy is performed before any of the work items in the work group are executed. The waits ensure the copies are complete before the local arrays are used.

int grp_id    = get_group_id(0);
int num_elems = get_local_size(0);

// Initiate copy of input arrays from global to local memory
event_t ev1 = async_work_group_copy(lM, M+grp_id*num_elems, num_elems, 0);
event_t ev2 = async_work_group_copy(lx, x+grp_id*num_elems, num_elems, 0);

// Wait for copies to complete
wait_group_events(1, &ev1);
wait_group_events(1, &ev2);


The use of async_work_group_copy is an optimization to take advantage of the lower latency and higher bandwidth of local memories.

Perform computation out of local memory

Note that local ids are used to index the arrays in local memory.

int lid    = get_local_id(0);
ly[lid] = lx[lid] * lM[lid] + C;

Copy output array from local memory to global memory

The last step is to copy the result array from local memory to the appropriate chunk of global memory and wait for the copy to complete.

event_t ev3 = async_work_group_copy(y+grp_id*num_elems, ly, num_elems, 0);
wait_group_events(1, &ev3);

Sample Output


This example computes y[i] = M[i] * x[i] + C on single precision floating point arrays of size 2097152
- Computation on the ARM is parallelized across the A15s using OpenMP.
  - Computation on the DSP is performed by dispatching an OpenCL NDRange kernel across the compute units (C66x cores) in the compute device.


  Average across 5 runs:
  ARM (2 OpenMP threads)         : 0.012077 secs
  DSP (OpenCL NDRange kernel)    : 0.005909 secs
  OpenCL-DSP speedup             : 2.043985

  For more information on:
    * TI's OpenCL product, http://software-dl.ti.com/mctools/esd/docs/opencl/index.html