Strength in Numbers: Unified Debugging and Profiling Tools Pay Dividends for Allinea’s Customers
Users report that unified tools offer a competitive advantage in HPC research
2013-06-18 ISC2013, Leipzig, Germany ― In a city where public demonstrations played a significant role in re-unifying Germany, Allinea is promoting unification in HPC software.
With the release of version 4.1, developers and scientists can use Allinea DDT and Allinea MAP interchangeably.
“We’ve noticed fluidity in the workflow. A developer uses Allinea DDT to get the code right, then Allinea MAP to understand its performance, and then flicks back into Allinea DDT to uncover a performance issue’s root cause,” says Mark O’Connor, Allinea’s VP of Product Management. “We wanted to support that.”
Organizations can upgrade their licence for either product and share their tokens between the debugger and the profiler.
“Scientists, students, and developers learn once and win twice as they profile and debug their code with two tools that look and feel the same,” says Allinea COO David Lecomber.
Allinea DDT + Allinea MAP at Cenaero
Working between Allinea DDT and Allinea MAP is of particular interest to organizations like Cenaero, an applied research center that develops simulation methods and software tools.
Last year, it was appointed by the Wallonian Minister of Research to operate a Tier-1 supercomputer, which will extend its current cluster of 3,000 cores to more than 10,000 cores.
With a much larger community of users, particularly academic researchers seeking to further parallelize their codes, we expect the Allinea tools will help us get this new infrastructure to deliver efficient results,” says Serge Bogaerts, HPC and Infrastructure Manager at Cenaero.
Bogaerts says Cenaero developers have been very impressed by Allinea DDT.
“The time we’ve saved this year has already justified our need for the tool.”
He adds that he expects the unified interface to help researchers use Allinea MAP as much as they use Allinea DDT.
Beyond simply integrating the two tools, Allinea has added new features.
One of the sorely missing aspects of HPC storage is the analysis and understanding of the I/O patterns of applications. Allinea MAP now provides key metrics, such as the bytes read/written and uncached data transfer, making it easy to spot and diagnose lines of code with slow I/O performance in serial and parallel applications.
Keeping a logbook is one of the basic roads to understanding ― developers maintain them to see what was tried and what worked; and subsequent users use them to understand code changes, the points where bugs could have been introduced.
“But scientists and developers, who face a combination of software problems and pressure to advance their research, often opt for the false economy of trying things without taking the time to log them,” explains O’Connor.
Allinea DDT 4.1 automatically, records actions taken and the variables seen so developers can check the current code against the behavior of a previous version or even a run it on a different system.
Allinea DDT 4.1 has also brought version control right into the code display, showing the age of different lines of code along with messages people wrote to describe their changes.
“When you’ve got this information, it’s much easier to fix the root cause of problems,” says O’Connor. “It’s a powerful debugging aid and there is nothing else like it on the HPC market.”
Allinea COO David Lecomber says the new features combined with the unification of the tools are part of the company’s mission to bring best development practices to the fore and create the fastest path to a solution.
“This joint licensing option is a natural progression that brings value to our customers. HPC centers are already telling us that adopting one part of the tool-suite encourages the adoption of the other amongst their users,” he says.
As an infrastructure manager trying to get the best performance from his machines, Bogaerts appreciates Allinea’s attention to technological trends and the user experience.
“As HPC continues toward more advanced parallelization, it is clear that tools like DDT and MAP will provide a competitive advantage in the race for more effective high performance computing,” he says.