In this hands-on exercise you will compile and run a main memory bandwidth benchmark. You will learn how to explore node properties and topology with likwid-topology and how to use likwid-pin to explicitly control thread affinity.

Finally you learn how to determine the maximum sustained memory bandwidth for one socket and a complete node.


You can find the benchmark code in the BWBENCH folder of the teacher account.

  • Get the source from the teacher's account:

    $ cp -a ~g64g0000/BWBENCH ~
  • Get an interactive single-node job on the Fritz cluster:

    $ salloc -p singlenode -N 1 --time=01:00:00
  • Load Intel compiler and LIKWID modules:

    $ module load intel likwid

Explore node topology

Execute likwid-topology:

$ likwid-topology -g | less -S

Answer the following questions:

  1. How many cores are available in one socket, the whole node?
  2.  Is SMT enabled?
  3. What is the aggregate size of the last level cache in MB per socket?
  4. How many ccNUMA memory domains are there?
  5. What is the total installed memory capacity?

Compile the benchmark

Compile a threaded OpenMP binary with optimizing flags:

$ icx -Ofast -xHost -std=c99 -qopenmp -o bwBench-ICC bwBench.c

Or, for Fortran:

$ ifx -Ofast -xHost -qopenmp -o bwBench-ICC bwBench.f90

Run the benchmark

BWBENCH runs a couple of different data-streaming loops with large arrays and reports the observed memory bandwidth per loop. Basically it's an improved version of the popular STREAM benchmark.

Execute with 18 threads without explicit pinning:

$ env OMP_NUM_THREADS=18 ./bwBench-ICC

Perform multiple runs.

  1. Do the results fluctuate? 
  2. By how much?

Run again with explicit pinning also using 18 threads but pinned to 18 physical cores of socket 0:

$ likwid-pin -c S0:0-17 ./bwBench-ICC
  1. Is the result different? If yes: why is it different? 
  2. Can you recover the previous (best) result?

Benchmark the memory bandwidth scaling within one ccNUMA domain (in 1-core steps from 1 to 18 cores):

  1. What is the maximum memory bandwidth in GB/s?
  2. Which benchmark case reaches the highest bandwidth?
  3. At which core count can you saturate the main memory bandwidth?
  4. Does the clock frequency impact the observed bandwidth numbers? Try setting 1.2 and 2.4 GHz with 1 and 18 threads, respectively.
    Remember, in order to set the clock speed you have to wrap the command into srun:

    $ srun --cpu-freq=1200000-1200000:performance likwid-pin -c S0:0-17 ./bwBench-ICC

Last modified: Wednesday, 11 January 2023, 7:10 PM