Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 7905, 2013, pp 330-342

Accelerators for Technical Computing: Is It Worth the Pain? A TCO Perspective

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Nowadays, HPC systems emerge in a great variety including commodity processors with attached accelerators which promise to improve the performance per watt ratio. These heterogeneous architectures often get far more complex to employ. Therefore, a hardware purchase decision should not only take capital expenses and operational costs such as power consumption into account, but also manpower. In this work, we take a look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) that includes costs for administration and programming effort. From that, we compute the costs per program run which can be used as a comparison metric for a purchase decision. In a case study, we evaluate our approach on two real-world simulation applications on Intel Xeon architectures, NVIDIA GPUs and Intel Xeon Phis by using different programming models: OpenCL, OpenACC, OpenMP and Intel’s Language Extensions for Offload.