Back in 1993, the institute where I was doing my postdoctoral research got access to a Cray C90* supercomputer. Competition for time on this system was so fierce that we were told―in no uncertain terms―that if our programs didn’t take advantage of the architecture, they should run elsewhere. The C90 was a vector processor, so we had to vectorize our code. Those of us who took the time to read the compiler reports and make the necessary code modifications saw striking performance gains. Though vectorization would eventually take a backseat to parallelization in the multicore era, this optimization technique remains important. In Vectorization Becomes Important―Again, Robert H. Dodds Jr. (professor emeritus at the University of Illinois) shows how to vectorize a real application using modern programming tools.
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