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A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers 157

gentryx writes "In scientific computing a huge pile of code is still written in Fortran. One reason for this is that codes often evolve over the course of decades and rewriting them from scratch is both risky and costly. While OpenMP and OpenACC are readily available for Fortran, only few tools support authors in porting their codes to MPI clusters, let alone supercomputers. A recent blog post details how LibGeoDecomp (Library for Geometric Decompostition codes), albeit written in C++, can be used to port such codes to state-of-the-art HPC systems. Source code modification is required, but mostly limited to restructuring into a new pattern of subroutines."
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A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers

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  • by excelsior_gr ( 969383 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @04:02PM (#44913137)

    It is true that there are a lot of legacy Fortran codes in scientific computing, but chances are that they are already parallel, so this tool won't be much of a use for those supporting them. OpenMP and MPI have been in use in Fortran codes for decades. The summary seems to think that legacy Fortran codes need saving and porting. They don't. They are just fine, number crunching faster than you can say DO CONCURRENT.

    Having said that, LibGeoDecomp seems quite nice if you find a piece of serial code and you want to make a rough parallel version of it without much hassle. But if you are writing new code, you can parallelize it natively. Nevertheless, I believe that we must focus our resources in developing the current compilers. The Compaq compiler died in the hands of HP and people moved mostly to the intel compiler, since the open-source community was focused in C++ at the time and the gcc was stuck with the obsolete g77. Then g95 came along, that brought us all the cool stuff of Fortran 90/95, while gfortran was being developed. Now gfortran seems decent, but it still has to match the speed of ifort in order to sit at the cool kids' table. Also, we need the features of the latest Fortran standards. I would gladly use a compiler that is feature-complete, even if the executables are relatively slow, because I will be able to switch into the mindset of the Fortran2008 standard and stop doing things the Fortran95-way while coding. They will then have all the time they need to make it more efficient.

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