fftMPI documentation

Data layout and optimization

To use fftMPI, an application (app) defines one or more 2d or 3d FFT grids. The data on these grids is owned by the app and distributed across the processors it runs on. To compute an FFT, each processor passes a pointer to the memory which stores its portion of the input grid point values. It also passes a pointer to where it wants the output FFT values stored. The two pointers can be identical to perform an in-place FFT. See the "compute() method API")_api_compute.html for more details.

As explained on the intro doc page, for fftMPI the 2d or 3d FFT grid data is distributed across processors via a "tiling". Imagine a N1 x N2 or N1 x N2 x N3 grid partitioned into P tiles, where P is the number of MPI tasks (processors). Each tile is a "rectangle" of grid points in 2d or "brick" of grid points in 3d. Each processor's tile can be any size or shape, including empty. The P individual tiles cannot overlap; their union is the entire grid. This means each point of the global FFT grid is owned by a unique processor.

The setup() method API has arguments for each processor to specify the global grid size, as well as the bounds of its tile for input, and also for output. The input and output tilings can be different, which is useful for performing a convolution operation as described below. There is also an option to permute the ordering of data on each processor on ouput versus its initial ordering.

Each processor must store the data for its tile contiguously in memory. The setup() method API arguments for the global grid size are (nfast,nmid,nslow) for 3d FFTs and (nfast,nslow) for 2d FFT. These do NOT refer to spatial dimensions, e.g. x,y,z. Instead they refer to how the grid points stored by each processor in its tile of values are ordered in its local memory.

Each grid point value is a complex datum, with both a real and imaginary value. Those 2 values are stored consecutively in memory. For double-precision FFTs, each value is a 64-bit floating point number. For single-precision FFTS, it is a 32-bit floating point number. For the tile of grid points, the nfast dimension varies fastest (i.e. two grid points whose fast index differs by 1 are consecutive in memory), the nmid dimension (for 3d) varies next fastest, and the nslow dimension varies slowest.

Again, to reemphasize, for a 3d grid the fftMPI library does NOT know or care which of the 3 indices correspond to spatial dimensions x,y,z but only which are the fast, mid, slow indices.

As a concrete example, assume a global 3d FFT grid is defined with (nfast,mid,nslow) = (32,20,45) and a particular processor owns a 2x3x2 tile of the 3d grid, which could be located anywhere within the global grid. That processor thus owns data for 2x3x2 = 12 grid points. It stores 12 complex datums or 24 floating point numbers. For double precision, this would be 24*8 = 192 bytes of grid data.

The processor must store its 24 floating point values contiguously in memory as follows, where R/I are the real/imaginary pair of values for one complex datum:

R1, I1, R2, I2, ... R23, I23, R24, I24 

Call the 3 indices of the global grid I,J,K. For the 2x3x2 tile, an individual complex grid point is Gijk. Then the 12 grid points must be ordered in memory as:

G111, G211, G121, G221, G131, G231, G112, G212, G122, G222, G132, G232 

Finally, as mentioned above, a permuted ordering can be specified for output of the FFT. This means that the ordering of data is altered within each output tile stored by all the processors. For example, for a 2d FFT, all processors can own data with a row-wise ordering on input, and with a column-wise ordering on output. See the discussion of a convolution operation below. The setup() method doc page explains permutation in detail, and gives a concrete example.

Here are a few other points worth mentioning:

Here are example array allocations for a processor's tile of data for a 3d double-precision FFT where the tile size is 30x20x10 in the nfast,nmid,nslow dimesions. Note the difference between Fortran versus the other languages based on native array storage order as discussused in the preceeding bullets.

Each grid point stores a (real,imaginary) pair of values in consecutive memory locations. So the arrays can be defined as 4d where dim=2 varies fastest, or 3d where the nfast dim=30 is doubled.

C or C++:

double grid1020302;
double grid102060; 


real(8), dimension(2,30,20,10) grid
real(8), dimension(60,20,10) grid 


grid = numpy.zeros(10,20,30,2,np.float64) 
grid = numpy.zeros(10,20,60,np.float64) 

Here are examples of conceptual data layouts that fftMPI allows:

Optimization of data layouts

As explained on the intro doc page, a 2d FFT for a N1 x N2 grid is performed as a set of N2 1d FFTs in the first dimension, followed by N1 1d FFTs in the 2nd dimension. A 3d FFT for a N1 x N2 x N3 grid is performed as N2*N3 1d FFTs in the first dimension, then N1*N3 1d FFTs in the 2nd, then N1*N2 1d FFTs in the third dimension.

In the context of the discussion above, this means the 1st set of 1d FFTs is performed in the fast-varying dimension, and the last set of 1d FFTs is performed in the slow-varying dimension. For 3d FFTs, the middle set of 1d FFTs is performed in the mid-varying dimension.

While fftMPI allows for a variety of input and output data layouts, it will run fastest when the input and outputs layout do not require additional data movement before or after performing an FFT.

For both 2d and 3d FFTs an optimal input layout is one where each processor already owns the entire fast-varying dimension of the data array and each processor has (roughly) the same amount of data. In this case, no initial remapping of data is required; the first set of 1d FFTs can be performed immediately.

Similarly, an optimal output layout is one where each processor owns the entire slow-varying dimension and again (roughly) the same amount of data. Additionally it is one where the permutation is specified as 1 for 2d and as 2 for 3d, so that what was originally the slow-varying dimension is now the fast-varying dimension (for the last set of 1d FFTs). In this case, no final remapping of data is required; the data can be left in the layout used for the final set of 1d FFTs. This is a good way to perform the convolution operation explained above.

Note that these input and output layouts may or may not make sense for a specific app. But using either or both of them will reduce the cost of the FFT operation.