Verified Lifting of Stencil Computations

Shoaib Kamil, Alvin Cheung, Shachar Itzhaky, Armando Solar-Lezama

Proceedings of PLDI 2016


This paper demonstrates a novel combination of program synthesis and verification to lift stencil computations from low-level Fortran code to a high-level summary expressed us- ing a predicate language. The technique is sound and mostly automated, and leverages counter-example guided inductive synthesis (CEGIS) to find provably correct translations. Lifting existing code to a high-performance description language has a number of benefits, including maintainability and performance portability. Our experiments show that the lifted summaries allow domain specific compilers to do a better job of parallelization as compared to an off-the-shelf compiler working on the original code, and can even support fully automatic migration to hardware accelerators such as GPUs. We have implemented verified lifting in a system called STNG and have evaluated it using microbenchmarks, mini-apps, and real-world applications. We demonstrate the benefits of verified lifting by first automatically summarizing Fortran source code into a high-level predicate language, and subsequently translating the lifted summaries into Halide, with the translated code achieving median performance speedups of 4.1x and up to 24x as compared to the original implementation.

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