# Speed-up and efficiency of DGEMM¶

Let us use the OpenBLAS DGEMM routine from the previous section and see how it behaves for different matrix sizes going from 1,000 to 25,000 and a different number of cores. First we look at the speed-up which in this case where we can run on a single core is defined as

with \(p\) the number of cores.

As one would expect, the speed-up increases with a growing number of cores, except for an anomaly on this specific machine when using all 20 cores which was due to background work going on in the operating system. For smaller core numbers the four lines are almost indistinguishable but as the number of cores increases we see that the speed-up is much better for the larger matrix sizes, when there is more work per processor.

For this particular example we don't really see the flattening of the speed-up or even lowering predicted for large core numbers in the model in the first section of this chapter.

The ideal speed-up is of course equal to the number of processors used, but this is more difficult to interpret in a graph. An easier number to work with is the efficiency, which is the speed-up divided by the number of processors:

Here the ideal would be 100%, i.e., a flat line independent of the number of cores.

For the same configuration as in the previous graph, we get

We see that the efficiency decreases with increasing core numbers, and for a given number of cores increases with the problem size. If we would put the limit for efficiency at 80%, we could only use 6 cores for matrix size 1,000, but could use any number of cores in this 20-core node for the larger matrix sizes (neglecting for now the strange behaviour when all cores are used).

However, to show how difficult benchmarking can be on a cluster where you cannot fix the clock speed of a processor and can have turbo mode kick in, consider the following graph where we computed the efficiency based on the measured number of Gflops:

where \(G(p)\) is the speed on \(p\) processors and \(G_{theoretical}\) is the theoretical peak performance based on the nominal clock frequency of the node (22.4 Gflops at 2.8 GHz for this node).

We now see that for all four matrix sizes the efficiency defined this way is higher than 100% on a single core as the effective speed is higher because of the turbo boost. Bigger matrix sizes also benefit a little more which is not abnormal as the whole blocking strategy also comes with overhead that is partly a fixed cost and shows more for the smaller problem.

This just shows how difficult interpreting results from benchmarks is if there can be multiple factors in play, like turbo boost, a load on part of the node when other users are also on the node, load on the communication network from other users when benchmarking distributed memory code, ...