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Node-Level Performance Engineering Course

University of Cologne, January 20-22, 2020

This course covers performance engineering approaches on the compute node level. Even application developers who are fluent in OpenMP and MPI often lack a good grasp of how much performance could at best be achieved by their code. This is because parallelism takes us only half the way to good performance. Even worse, slow serial code tends to scale very well, hiding the fact that resources are wasted. This course conveys the required knowledge to develop a thorough understanding of the interactions between software and hardware. This process must start at the core, socket, and node level, where the code gets executed that does the actual computational work. We introduce the basic architectural features and bottlenecks of modern processors and compute nodes. Pipelining, SIMD, superscalarity, caches, memory interfaces, ccNUMA, etc., are covered. A cornerstone of node-level performance analysis is the Roofline model, which is introduced in due detail and applied to various examples from computational science. We also show how simple software tools can be used to acquire knowledge about the system, run code in a reproducible way, and validate hypotheses about resource consumption. Finally, once the architectural requirements of a code are understood and correlated with performance measurements, the potential benefit of code changes can often be predicted, replacing hope-for-the-best optimizations by a scientific process.

Course Instructors


  • Registration starts November 1, 2019 and ends January 12, 2019.
  • Participation is free of charge, but the number of participants is limited.
  • Conference Dinner (à la carte) takes place at the Brauhaus Päffgen on Monday (January 20), starting 7 P.M. and has to be payed by each participant individually.

Please register via e-mail at Sabine Musielack-Erle. Please provide the following information in your e-mail:

  • Name
  • Institution
  • Are you planning to participate in the Conference Dinner?


For the agenda and course material, please click here.


The workshop will take place in

Seminar room S60,
Universitätsstraße 41,
50931 Köln

of the University of Cologne; see the map below.