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CUDA® is a parallel computing platform and programming model developed by NVIDIA for general computing on graphical processing units (GPUs).

Installed Versions

For the current list of installed versions, use:

$ ml av CUDA

CUDA Programming

The default programming model for GPU accelerators is NVIDIA CUDA. To set up the environment for CUDA, use:

$ ml CUDA

CUDA code can be compiled directly on login nodes. The user does not have to use compute nodes with GPU accelerators for compilation. To compile CUDA source code, use the NVCC compiler:

$ nvcc --version

The CUDA Toolkit comes with a large number of examples, which can be a helpful reference to start with. To compile and test these examples, users should copy them to their home directory:

$ cd ~
$ mkdir cuda-samples
$ cp -R /apps/nvidia/cuda/VERSION_CUDA/samples/* ~/cuda-samples/

To compile examples, change directory to the particular example (here the example used is deviceQuery) and run make to start the compilation;

$ cd ~/cuda-samples/1_Utilities/deviceQuery
$ make

To run the code, the user can use a PBS interactive session to get access to a node from the qnvidia queue (note: use your project name with the -A parameter in the qsub command) and execute the binary file:

$ qsub -I -q qnvidia -A OPEN-0-0
$ ml CUDA
$ ~/cuda-samples/1_Utilities/deviceQuery/deviceQuery

The expected output of the deviceQuery example executed on a node with a Tesla K20m is:

    CUDA Device Query (Runtime API) version (CUDART static linking)

    Detected 1 CUDA Capable device(s)

    Device 0: "Tesla K20m"
    CUDA Driver Version / Runtime Version 5.0 / 5.0
    CUDA Capability Major/Minor version number: 3.5
    Total amount of global memory: 4800 MBytes (5032706048 bytes)
    (13) Multiprocessors x (192) CUDA Cores/MP: 2496 CUDA Cores
    GPU Clock rate: 706 MHz (0.71 GHz)
    Memory Clock rate: 2600 Mhz
    Memory Bus Width: 320-bit
    L2 Cache Size: 1310720 bytes
    Max Texture Dimension Size (x,y,z) 1D=(65536), 2D=(65536,65536), 3D=(4096,4096,4096)
    Max Layered Texture Size (dim) x layers 1D=(16384) x 2048, 2D=(16384,16384) x 2048
    Total amount of constant memory: 65536 bytes
    Total amount of shared memory per block: 49152 bytes
    Total number of registers available per block: 65536
    Warp size: 32
    Maximum number of threads per multiprocessor: 2048
    Maximum number of threads per block: 1024
    Maximum sizes of each dimension of a block: 1024 x 1024 x 64
    Maximum sizes of each dimension of a grid: 2147483647 x 65535 x 65535
    Maximum memory pitch: 2147483647 bytes
    Texture alignment: 512 bytes
    Concurrent copy and kernel execution: Yes with 2 copy engine(s)
    Run time limit on kernels: No
    Integrated GPU sharing Host Memory: No
    Support host page-locked memory mapping: Yes
    Alignment requirement for Surfaces: Yes
    Device has ECC support: Enabled
    Device supports Unified Addressing (UVA): Yes
    Device PCI Bus ID / PCI location ID: 2 / 0
    Compute Mode:
    < Default (multiple host threads can use ::cudaSetDevice() with device simultaneously) >
    deviceQuery, CUDA Driver = CUDART, CUDA Driver Version = 5.0, CUDA Runtime Version = 5.0, NumDevs = 1, Device0 = Tesla K20m

Code Example

In this section, we provide a basic CUDA based vector addition code example. You can directly copy and paste the code to test it:

$ vim

#define N (2048*2048)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

// GPU kernel function to add two vectors
__global__ void add_gpu( int *a, int *b, int *c, int n){
  int index = threadIdx.x + blockIdx.x * blockDim.x;
  if (index < n)
    c[index] = a[index] + b[index];

// CPU function to add two vectors
void add_cpu (int *a, int *b, int *c, int n) {
  for (int i=0; i < n; i++)
    c[i] = a[i] + b[i];

// CPU function to generate a vector of random integers
void random_ints (int *a, int n) {
  for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)
  a[i] = rand() % 10000; // random number between 0 and 9999

// CPU function to compare two vectors
int compare_ints( int *a, int *b, int n ){
  int pass = 0;
  for (int i = 0; i < N; i++){
    if (a[i] != b[i]) {
      printf("Value mismatch at location %d, values %d and %dn",i, a[i], b[i]);
      pass = 1;
  if (pass == 0) printf ("Test passedn"); else printf ("Test Failedn");
  return pass;

int main( void ) {

  int *a, *b, *c; // host copies of a, b, c
  int *dev_a, *dev_b, *dev_c; // device copies of a, b, c
  int size = N * sizeof( int ); // we need space for N integers

  // Allocate GPU/device copies of dev_a, dev_b, dev_c
  cudaMalloc( (void**)&dev_a, size );
  cudaMalloc( (void**)&dev_b, size );
  cudaMalloc( (void**)&dev_c, size );

  // Allocate CPU/host copies of a, b, c
  a = (int*)malloc( size );
  b = (int*)malloc( size );
  c = (int*)malloc( size );

  // Fill input vectors with random integer numbers
  random_ints( a, N );
  random_ints( b, N );

  // copy inputs to device
  cudaMemcpy( dev_a, a, size, cudaMemcpyHostToDevice );
  cudaMemcpy( dev_b, b, size, cudaMemcpyHostToDevice );

  // launch add_gpu() kernel with blocks and threads
  add_gpu<<< N/THREADS_PER_BLOCK, THREADS_PER_BLOCK >>( dev_a, dev_b, dev_c, N );

  // copy device result back to host copy of c
  cudaMemcpy( c, dev_c, size, cudaMemcpyDeviceToHost );

  //Check the results with CPU implementation
  int *c_h; c_h = (int*)malloc( size );
  add_cpu (a, b, c_h, N);
  compare_ints(c, c_h, N);

  // Clean CPU memory allocations
  free( a ); free( b ); free( c ); free (c_h);

  // Clean GPU memory allocations
  cudaFree( dev_a );
  cudaFree( dev_b );
  cudaFree( dev_c );

  return 0;

This code can be compiled using the following command:

$ nvcc -o test_cuda

To run the code, use an interactive PBS session to get access to one of the GPU accelerated nodes:

$ qsub -I -q qnvidia -A OPEN-0-0
$ ml cuda
$ ./test.cuda

CUDA Libraries


The NVIDIA CUDA Basic Linear Algebra Subroutines (cuBLAS) library is a GPU-accelerated version of the complete standard BLAS library with 152 standard BLAS routines. A basic description of the library together with basic performance comparisons with MKL can be found here.

cuBLAS Example: SAXPY

The SAXPY function multiplies the vector x by the scalar alpha and adds it to the vector y, overwriting the latest vector with the result. A description of the cuBLAS function can be found in the NVIDIA CUDA documentation. The code can be pasted in the file and compiled without any modification:

/* Includes, system */
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

/* Includes, cuda */
#include <cuda_runtime.h>
#include <cublas_v2.h>

/* Vector size */
#define N  (32)

/* Host implementation of a simple version of saxpi */
void saxpy(int n, float alpha, const float *x, float *y)
    for (int i = 0; i < n; ++i)
    y[i] = alpha*x[i] + y[i];

/* Main */
int main(int argc, char **argv)
    float *h_X, *h_Y, *h_Y_ref;
    float *d_X = 0;
    float *d_Y = 0;

    const float alpha = 1.0f;
    int i;

    cublasHandle_t handle;

    /* Initialize CUBLAS */
    printf("simpleCUBLAS test running..n");

    /* Allocate host memory for the matrices */
    h_X = (float *)malloc(N * sizeof(h_X[0]));
    h_Y = (float *)malloc(N * sizeof(h_Y[0]));
    h_Y_ref = (float *)malloc(N * sizeof(h_Y_ref[0]));

    /* Fill the matrices with test data */
    for (i = 0; i < N; i++)
        h_X[i] = rand() / (float)RAND_MAX;
        h_Y[i] = rand() / (float)RAND_MAX;
        h_Y_ref[i] = h_Y[i];

    /* Allocate device memory for the matrices */
    cudaMalloc((void **)&d_X, N * sizeof(d_X[0]));
    cudaMalloc((void **)&d_Y, N * sizeof(d_Y[0]));

    /* Initialize the device matrices with the host matrices */
    cublasSetVector(N, sizeof(h_X[0]), h_X, 1, d_X, 1);
    cublasSetVector(N, sizeof(h_Y[0]), h_Y, 1, d_Y, 1);

    /* Performs operation using plain C code */
    saxpy(N, alpha, h_X, h_Y_ref);

    /* Performs operation using cublas */
    cublasSaxpy(handle, N, &alpha, d_X, 1, d_Y, 1);

    /* Read the result back */
    cublasGetVector(N, sizeof(h_Y[0]), d_Y, 1, h_Y, 1);

    /* Check result against reference */
    for (i = 0; i < N; ++i)
        printf("CPU res = %f t GPU res = %f t diff = %f n", h_Y_ref[i], h_Y[i], h_Y_ref[i] - h_Y[i]);

    /* Memory clean up */
    free(h_X); free(h_Y); free(h_Y_ref);
    cudaFree(d_X); cudaFree(d_Y);

    /* Shutdown */


cuBLAS has its own function for data transfers between CPU and GPU memory: - cublasSetVector - transfers data from CPU to GPU memory - cublasGetVector - transfers data from GPU to CPU memory

To compile the code using the NVCC compiler, the -lcublas compiler flag has to be specified:

$ ml cuda
$ nvcc -lcublas -o test_cublas_nvcc

To compile the same code with GCC:

$ ml cuda
$ gcc -std=c99 test_cublas.c -o test_cublas_icc -lcublas -lcudart

To compile the same code with the Intel compiler:

$ ml cuda
$ ml intel
$ icc -std=c99 test_cublas.c -o test_cublas_icc -lcublas -lcudart