Programming Parallel Computers



When you go to look at the information on your submission, you will see a lot of information there. At first it can be overwhelming, and you can focus on the first parts that contain e.g. information on tests that failed. But later when you get more comfortable with the system and you have got your code working correctly, you can also start to pay attention to the bottom parts of the page. There you will have also more detailed measurements on the performance of your code, and you can even go there and have a look at the assembly code produced by the compiler. This can be especially valuable if you do not have similar hardware available elsewhere, and you are trying to make good use of the features of our computers.

Development environment

When you download the zip file containing the code templates for a task, you should be able to unzip and use it directly on a typical Linux and macOS computers if you have the usual development tools installed, as long as you have got a sufficiently new C++ compiler: GCC version at least 8 or Clang version at least 6 (both were released in 2018).

If you are using Ubuntu Linux 20.04, you can run sudo apt install g++ python3 to install the relevant tools.

If you are using Ubuntu Linux 18.04, you will also need to install a more recent compiler with sudo apt install g++-8 — our scripts should automatically find the most recent compiler even if it is called e.g. g++-8 instead of g++, so no other changes besides installing the right package are needed.

If you are using Debian 9, you will probably want to update to Debian 10 to get GCC 8.

If you are using macOS, you should get a working development environment this way:

If you are using Windows Subsystem for Linux to use Linux under Windows, please be careful to also unzip the files inside the Linux subsystem. If you unzip in the Windows side and try to use it in the Linux side, e.g. symbolic links will not work correctly.

If you have got an Aalto University user account, you can also use remotely the Linux computers that are available in the Maari building:

If you are using some computer via ssh, to get the code templates there it is probably easiest to copy the download link and use wget to download the zip file.

What is going on behind the scenes

You can use the -v flag (e.g. ./grading -v test) to see what are the commands that the grading tool is running. This way you can more easily see what went wrong if the grading tool is not co-operating in your local environment, and you can also see exactly how your code is compiled.

The grading tool will compile your own code (e.g. together with our tester code into one executable file (e.g. cp). You can also run the executable file directly from the command line, or under a debugger or profiler if needed. Again, use ./grading -v test to find the right command to use.

Convenient utilities

In the zip file with the code templates, you will find some convenient definitions in the file .ppc/ppcgrader/include/vector.h. You can simply use #include "vector.h" in your submission to make use of these. They are automatically available both when you test your code locally and when you submit to our automatic grading system.

Best practices

It is highly recommended that you keep all of your code in your own private Git repository. You can this way easily collect all of the code templates in one place, and keep track of your own solutions.

Debugging correctness-related issues

If your code unexpectedly crashes, please consider these:

If you get wrong results, please consider these: