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UPC is supported on NERSC Machines through two different implementations: Berkeley UPC and Cray UPC.

Berkeley UPC

Berkeley UPC (BUPC) provides a portable UPC programming environment consisting of a source translation front-end (which in turn relies on a user-supplied C compiler underneath) and a runtime library based on GASNet. The latter is able to take advantage of advanced communications functionality of the Cray Aries interconnect on Cori, such as remote direct memory access (RDMA).

BUPC is available via the bupc module on Cori, which provides both the upcc compiler wrapper, as well as the upcrun launcher wrapper (which correctly initializes the environment and calls srun). Further, all three supported programming environments on Cori (Intel, GNU, and Cray) are supported by BUPC for use as the underlying C compiler.

There are a number of environment variables that affect the execution environment of your UPC application compiled with BUPC, all of which can be found in the BUPC documentation. One of the most important is UPC_SHARED_HEAP_SIZE, which controls the size of the shared symmetric heap used to service shared memory allocations. If you encounter errors at application launch related to memory allocation, you will likely want to start by adjusting this variable.

Compiling and running a simple application with BUPC on Cori is fairly straightforward. First, to compile:

$ module load bupc
## Loaded module 'bupc/2.26.0-6.0.4-intel-' based on current PrgEnv
## and compiler. If you change PrgEnv or compiler modules, then you should
## run 'module switch bupc bupc' to get the correct bupc module.
$ cat cpi.c
/* The ubiquitous cpi program.
Compute pi using a simple quadrature rule
in parallel
Usage: cpi [intervals_per_thread] */
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <math.h>
#include <upc_relaxed.h>
/* Add up all the inputs on all the threads.
When the collective spec becomes finalised this
will be replaced */
shared double reduce_data[THREADS];
shared double reduce_result;
double myreduce(double myinput)
#if defined(__xlC__)
// Work-around Bug 3228
*(volatile double *)(&myinput);
if(MYTHREAD == 0) {
double result = 0;
int i;
for(i=0;i < THREADS;i++) {
result += reduce_data[i];
reduce_result = result;
/* The function to be integrated */
double f(double x)
double dfour=4;
double done=1;
return(dfour/(done + (x*x)));
/* Implementation of a simple quadrature rule */
double integrate(double left,double right,int intervals)
int i;
double sum = 0;
double h = (right-left)/intervals;
double hh = h/2;
/* Use the midpoint rule */
double midpt = left + hh;
for(i=0;i < intervals;i++) {
sum += f(midpt + i*h);
int main(int argc,char **argv)
double mystart, myend;
double myresult;
double piapprox;
int intervals_per_thread = INTERVALS_PER_THREAD_DEFAULT;
double realpi=3.141592653589793238462643;
/* Get the part of the range that I'm responsible for */
mystart = (1.0*MYTHREAD)/THREADS;
myend = (1.0*(MYTHREAD+1))/THREADS;
if(argc > 1) {
intervals_per_thread = atoi(argv[1]);
piapprox = myreduce(integrate(mystart,myend,intervals_per_thread));
if(MYTHREAD == 0) {
printf("Approx: %20.17f Error: %23.17f\n",piapprox,fabs(piapprox - realpi));
$ upcc cpi.c -o cpi.x

And then run, in this case in a interactive salloc session:

$ salloc -N 2 -t 10:00 -p debug -C haswell
$ upcrun -n 4 ./cpi.x
UPCR: UPC thread 0 of 4 on nid01901 (pshm node 0 of 2, process 0 of 4, pid=36911)
UPCR: UPC thread 1 of 4 on nid01901 (pshm node 0 of 2, process 1 of 4, pid=36912)
UPCR: UPC thread 2 of 4 on nid01902 (pshm node 1 of 2, process 2 of 4, pid=35611)
UPCR: UPC thread 3 of 4 on nid01902 (pshm node 1 of 2, process 3 of 4, pid=35612)
Approx: 3.14159317442312691 Error: 0.00000052083333379

Cray UPC

UPC is directly supported under Cray's compiler environment through their PGAS runtime library (providing similar performance-enabling RDMA functionality to GASNet). To enable UPC support in your C code, simply switch to the Cray compiler environment and supply the '-h upc' option when calling cc. 

Because of its dependence on Cray's PGAS runtime, you may find the additional documentation available on the intro_pgas man page valuable. Specifically, two key environment variables introduced there are: 

  • XT_SYMMETRIC_HEAP_SIZE: Limits the size of the symmetric heap used to service shared memory allocations, analogous to BUPC's UPC_SHARED_HEAP_SIZE
  • PGAS_MEMINFO_DISPLAYCan be set to '1' in order to enable diagnostic output at launch regarding memory utilization.

In addition, there is one additional potential issue to be aware of: virtual memory limits in interactive salloc sessions. If you encounter errors on application launch similar to:

PE 0: ERROR: failed to attach XPMEM segment (at or around line 23 in __pgas_runtime_error_checking() from file ...)

then you may need to release your virtual memory limits by running:

ulimit -v unlimited

With all of this in mind, compiling and running a simple UPC application, analogous to the above example for BUPC but now using the Cray compilers, would look like:

$ module swap PrgEnv-intel PrgEnv-cray
$ cc -h upc cpi.c -o cpi.x $ salloc -N 2 -t 10:00 -p debug -C haswell
$ ulimit -v unlimited # may not be necessary
$ srun -n 4 ./cpi.x
Approx:  3.14159317442312691 Error:     0.00000052083333379