Single-precision arithmetic in ECHAM radiation reduces runtime and energy consumption

Cotronei, Alessandro; Slawig, Thomas

We converted the radiation part of the atmospheric model ECHAM to a single-precision arithmetic. We analyzed different conversion strategies and finally used a step-by-step change in all modules, subroutines and functions. We found out that a small code portion still requires higher-precision arithmetic. We generated code that can be easily changed from double to single precision and vice versa, basically using a simple switch in one module. We compared the output of the single-precision version in the coarse resolution with observational data and with the original double-precision code. The results of both versions are comparable. We extensively tested different parallelization options with respect to the possible runtime reduction, at both coarse and low resolution. The single-precision radiation itself was accelerated by about 40 %, whereas the runtime reduction for the whole ECHAM model using the converted radiation achieved 18 % in the best configuration. We further measured the energy consumption, which could also be reduced.

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Cotronei, Alessandro / Slawig, Thomas: Single-precision arithmetic in ECHAM radiation reduces runtime and energy consumption. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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