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SCHEDULE: NOV 16-22, 2013

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Precimonious: Tuning Assistant for Floating-Point Precision

SESSION: Optimizing Numerical Code


TIME: 4:30PM - 5:00PM

SESSION CHAIR: Naoya Maruyama

AUTHOR(S):Cindy Rubio-González, Cuong Nguyen, Hong Diep Nguyen, James Demmel, William Kahan, Koushik Sen, David H. Bailey, Costin Iancu, David Hough


Given the variety of numerical errors that can occur, floating-point programs are difficult to write, test and debug. One common practice employed by developers without an advanced background in numerical analysis is using the highest available precision. While more robust, this can degrade program performance significantly. In this paper we present Precimonious, a dynamic program analysis tool to assist developers in tuning the precision of floating-point programs. Precimonious performs a search on the types of the floating-point program variables trying to lower their precision subject to accuracy constraints and performance goals. Our tool recommends a type instantiation that uses lower precision while producing an accurate enough answer without causing exceptions. We evaluate Precimonious on several widely used functions from the GNU Scientific Library, two NAS Parallel Benchmarks, and three other numerical programs. For most of the programs analyzed, Precimonious reduces precision, which results in performance improvements as high as 41%.

Chair/Author Details:

Naoya Maruyama (Chair) - RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science

Cindy Rubio-González - University of California, Berkeley

Cuong Nguyen - University of California, Berkeley

Hong Diep Nguyen - University of California, Berkeley

James Demmel - University of California, Berkeley

William Kahan - University of California, Berkeley

Koushik Sen - University of California, Berkeley

David H. Bailey - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Costin Iancu - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

David Hough - Oracle Corpoation

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The full paper can be found in the ACM Digital Library