A comparative study of history-based versus vectorized Monte Carlo methods in the GPU/CUDA environment for a simple neutron eigenvalue problem
1 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA
2 Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
* Corresponding Author, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For nuclear reactor analysis such as the neutron eigenvalue calculations, the time consuming Monte Carlo (MC) simulations can be accelerated by using graphics processing units (GPUs). However, traditional MC methods are often history-based, and their performance on GPUs is affected significantly by the thread divergence problem. In this paper we describe the development of a newly designed event-based vectorized MC algorithm for solving the neutron eigenvalue problem. The code was implemented using NVIDIA’s Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA), and tested on a NVIDIA Tesla M2090 GPU card. We found that although the vectorized MC algorithm greatly reduces the occurrence of thread divergence thus enhancing the warp execution efficiency, the overall simulation speed is roughly ten times slower than the history-based MC code on GPUs. Profiling results suggest that the slow speed is probably due to the memory access latency caused by the large amount of global memory transactions. Possible solutions to improve the code efficiency are discussed.
Key words: Monte Carlo / vectorized / event based / parallel computing / GPU / CUDA
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014