Towards a performance portable, architecture agnostic implementation strategy for weather and climate models


  • Oliver Fuhrer Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss
  • Carlos Osuna Center for Climate Systems Modeling C2SM, ETH Zurich
  • Xavier Lapillonne Center for Climate Systems Modeling C2SM, ETH Zurich
  • Tobias Gysi Department of Computer Science, ETH Zurich
  • Ben Cumming Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, ETH Zurich
  • Mauro Bianco Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, ETH Zurich
  • Andrea Arteaga Center for Climate Systems Modeling C2SM, ETH Zurich
  • Thomas Christoph Schulthess ETH Zurich



We propose a software implementation strategy for complex weather and climate models that produces performance portable, architecture agnostic codes. It relies on domain and data structure specific tools that are usable within common model development frameworks -- Fortran today and possibly high-level programming environments like Python in the future. We present the strategy in terms of a refactoring project of the atmospheric model COSMO, where we have rewritten the dynamical core and refactored the remaining Fortran code. The dynamical core is built on top of the domain specific ``Stencil Loop Language'' for stencil computations on structured grids, a generic framework for halo exchange and boundary conditions, as well as a generic communication library that handles data exchange on a distributed memory system. All these tools are implemented in C++ making extensive use of generic programming and template metaprogramming. The refactored code is shown to outperform the current production code and is performance portable to various hybrid CPU-GPU node architectures.


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How to Cite

Fuhrer, O., Osuna, C., Lapillonne, X., Gysi, T., Cumming, B., Bianco, M., Arteaga, A., & Schulthess, T. C. (2014). Towards a performance portable, architecture agnostic implementation strategy for weather and climate models. Supercomputing Frontiers and Innovations, 1(1), 45–62.