SPEC ACCEL System Requirements

(To check for possible updates to this document, please see http://www.spec.org/accel/Docs/ )


I. Hardware and Software Requirements

A. System/OS

1. About Linux Distributions

2. SPEC does not recommend use of Windows/Unix compatibility products with SPEC ACCEL

B. Memory

C. Disk Space

D. Compiler, or precompiled binaries

II. Portablility Notes

III. About Resources and Mysterious Failures

Note: links to SPEC ACCEL documents on this web page assume that you are reading the page from a directory that also contains the other SPEC ACCEL documents. If by some chance you are reading this web page from a location where the links do not work, try accessing the referenced documents at one of the following locations:

I. Hardware and Software Requirements

To run and install SPEC ACCEL, the following are required.

A. System/OS:

You will need a computer system running UNIX, Microsoft Windows, or Mac OS X. The benchmark suite includes a toolset. Pre-compiled versions of the toolset are provided that are expected to work with:

Please ensure that you meet the minimum required version prior to installing SPEC ACCEL V1.0.

For systems not listed in above, such as earlier or later versions of the above systems, you may find that the tools also work, but SPEC has not tested them. Windows systems that are not based on NT, such as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME, will definitely NOT work. Please see the Portability Notes below.

Even though tools are provided for Solaris, AIX, Windows and MacOS, the benchmark is unsupported for these systems because there has been no testing done with them. The toolsets are provided as a courtesy in case you want to see if the benchmark does work on these OS.


I.A.1. About Linux distributions

Over time, various mechanisms have evolved on Linux, including libraries, 32-bit/64-bit support, executable format, linking, and run-time loading. These mechanisms have sometimes forked with Linux distributions and then occasionally rejoined later. SPEC ACCEL has been tested with a variety of Linux distributions, but the possibility remains that you may encounter incompatibilities if you are not using *exactly* the same version as was used when the tools were built. Therefore, the table that follows tells you exactly what was used.

If you find that you are unable to install the pre-compiled SPEC ACCEL on Linux, and you would like to build the tools yourself, please see the notes in tools-build.html. SPEC may be able to provide advice for your build, but SPEC does not promise that you will succeed. Please see the limitations described in techsuport.html.

Toolset name Expected compatibility Build environment
linux-debian6-armv6 ARMv6 and ARMv7 systems Built with GCC v4.5.5 on a Raspberry Pi running Debian Linux v6.0.4.
linux-redhat72-ia32 x86, IA-64, EM64T, and AMD64-based Linux systems with GLIBC 2.2.4+. Built on RedHat 7.2 (x86) with gcc 3.1.1
linux-rhas4r4-ia64 IA64 systems running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 or later. Built on RHAS 4r4 with GCC 3.4.6 20060404 (Red Hat 3.4.6-3)
linux-suse10-amd64 64-bit AMD64/EM64T Linux systems running SuSE Linux 10 or later, and other compatible Linux distributions, including some versions of RedHat Enterprise Linux and Oracle Linux Server. Built on SuSE Linux 10 with GCC v4.1.0 (SUSE Linux)
linux-suse10-ppc64 64-bit PowerPC-based Linux systems with GLIBC 2.4+. Built on SLES10.4 with gcc 4.1.2 (SUSE 10.4:4.1.2 20070115)

I.A.2. SPEC does not recommend use of Windows/Unix compatibility products with SPEC ACCEL

SPEC does not recommend installation of SPEC ACCEL on Microsoft Windows under Windows/Unix compatibility environments (such as Cygwin, MinGW, MKS, SFU, and so forth). The tools and benchmarks have not been ported to such environments. Please install from an ordinary command window (formerly known as an MS-DOS window).

If you have a Windows/Unix compatibility product on your Windows computer, SPEC recommends that you remove it from your %PATH% prior to installing or using SPEC ACCEL. The reason for this recommendation is that providing a Unix-like environment on Windows poses difficult problems. Historically there have been various approaches, with differing (incompatible) assumptions about how to mask or bridge differences between Windows and Unix. The SPEC CPU toolset has its own approach and its own set of assumptions, and there have been reports of difficult-to-diagnose errors when a Windows/Unix compatibility product is present on the path. If such problems occur, your first step should be to simplify the path, removing the compatibility product.

B. Memory

Typically 4 GB of host memory and 2 GB of device memory will be required, exclusive of OS/overhead; but more may be required:

Warning: When an operating system runs out of memory, errors may occur that are difficult to diagnose. See the section on resources, below.

C. Disk space

D. Compiler, or pre-compiled binaries

Since SPEC supplies only source code for the benchmarks, you will need either:

  1. A set of compilers for the result(s) you intend to measure: All three of C99, C++98 and Fortran-95 compilers and accelerator support software


  2. A pre-compiled set of benchmark executables, given to you by another user of the same revision of SPEC ACCEL, and any run-time libraries that may be required for those executables.

II. Portability Notes

SPEC ACCEL presumes that the OpenCL implementation can allocate a single data object of at least 1 GB. This may cause problems with OpenCL 1.0 compliant implementations which use buffers smaller than 1 GB. This requirement may also affect the OpenACC benchmarks when OpenCL is used as the underlying interface to the accelerator.

The SPEC ACCEL OpenACC benchmarks use a mixture of single and double precision floating point numbers. The target accelerator must support double precision floating point in order to run the OpenACC suite.

Three benchmarks, 112.spmv, 120.kmeans, and 370.bt, require a large stack size on the host.

SPEC ACCEL is a source code benchmark, and portability of that source code is one of the chief goals of SPEC ACCEL. SPEC has invested substantial effort to make the benchmarks portable across a wide variety of hardware architectures, operating systems, and compilers.

Despite SPEC's testing efforts, certain portability problems are likely to arise from time to time. For example:

If you visit http://www.spec.org/accel/ and look up results for SPEC ACCEL, you will find combinations of OS and compiler versions that are known to work. For example, if a vendor reports a SPEC ACCEL result on the SuperHero 4 using SuperHero Unix V4.0 with SuperHero C V4.0 and SuperHero C++ V4.0, you may take that as an assertion by the vendor that the listed versions of Unix, C, and C++ will successfully compile and run the SPEC ACCEL suite on the listed machine.

For systems that have not (yet) been reported by vendors, SPEC can provide limited technical support to resolve portability issues. See techsupport.html for information.

III. About Resources and Mysterious Failures

Resource Demand: The SPEC ACCEL benchmarks place a significant load on your system.

As described above, the nominal memory footprint is just under 4 GB on the host. Depending on your operating system architecture, the memory may be of various types, including:

(*)You don't want to actually use your pagefile much, as that is a recipe for testing your disk instead of testing your CPU. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for operating systems to require that pagefile space be "reserved", and benchmarks may fail if reservations are unavailable.

Mysterious failures: If an OS is unable to satisfy a resource request while your benchmarks are running, you may encounter difficult-to-diagnose, hard-to-reproduce error messages. Processes may be killed by the OS on a (seemingly) random basis, or may fail to start. If the OS is feeling sufficiently stressed, error messages may be cryptic or even non-existent. You might, or you might not, be able to find additional detail about the resource shortages in system locations such as event logs, message logs, or console logs.

Resource Competition: Meanwhile, contemporary systems run many tasks other than the benchmarks. Personal systems commonly include processes that support the user, which the user may not be aware of:

All of the above may affect observed performance, and if you are unlucky, may cause hard-to-reproduce resource shortages that prevent you from completing benchmark runs. Therefore, you may want to consider reviewing the controls for services such as the above, and you may want to reduce the load from these services during the benchmark run. When you consider adjusting services, please observe these CAUTIONS:

In addition, each of these techniques may improve the probability that the benchmarks have a fresh set of dedicated resources:

  1. Start a new terminal window, or
  2. Log out and back in, or
  3. Reboot

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