Benchmarking BLAS Part 1: Building BLASbench with gcc

I recently installed ATLAS on my new workstation and I’ve been wondering what kind of performance gain I would get compared to the reference BLAS. After some searching, I finally found a BLAS benchmarking tool called BLASbench, which is part of the LLCbench suite. This tool has a rather strange build process, so follow the instructions on the web page.  You have to create a file called sys.def which contains build instructions for your system. 

Here’s the sys.def file I used for my Gentoo system:

# Linux-mpich sys.def

# Blasbench values

BB_CC = gcc
BB_F77 = gfortran
BB_LD = gcc
BB_LIBS = -lblas -lrt

# Cachebench values

CB_CC = $(BB_CC)
CB_CFLAGS = -O -Wall
CB_LIBS = -lrt

# MPbench values

MP_MPI_CC = mpicc
MP_LIBS = -lrt
MPIRUNCMD = mpirun

Note that I haven’t messed with the cache or MPI benchmarking, so those values may be wrong.  Initially, I kept getting this linking error when I tried to build it:

gcc -O3 -Wall -DREGISTER -DINLINE -o vblasbench bb.o flushall.o timer.o  -lblas -lrt
bb.o: In function `MAIN__':
bb.c:(.text+0xe): undefined reference to `s_stop'
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make[1]: *** [vblasbench] Error 1

Most of the Google hits for “undefined reference to `s_stop'” talked about linking issues with g77 vs gfortran.  Since this is an brand new installation that has never had g77, that couldn’t be my issue.  I solved the problem by deleting lines 109-127 from the file blasbench/bb.c. The deleted lines are shown below:

#if defined(ia64)
/* Entry points to fool fortran linkers...*/
#ifdef __linux__
int MAIN__()
#if defined(__hppa) || defined(_HPUX_SOURCE)
int __main()
#if defined(__linux__) || defined(__hppa)
#if defined(__linux__) && defined(__GNUC__)
/* Subroutine */ int s_stop();
s_stop("", 0L);

This looks like a hack that was added to work around issues with g77, but now it creates problems for modern compilers and linkers. After deleting that block of code, I was able to build the code successfully.

In Part 2, I’ll explain how to run BLASbench and compare the results I got for the reference BLAS implementation, BLAS-ATLAS and BLAS-ATLAS with threads.

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