X06 Chapter Contents
X06 Chapter Introduction (PDF version)
NAG Library Manual

NAG Library Chapter Introduction

X06 – OpenMP Utilities


1  Scope of the Chapter

This chapter contains utilities for controlling the OpenMP environment for your program. They are based on OpenMP runtime library routines, although their functionality varies slightly.

2  Background to the Problems

These routines have been designed to be used with multi-threaded implementations of the NAG Library. In these implementations, these routines enable you to change and interrogate the OpenMP threading environment for your whole program. In describing their use we assume you have followed the recommendations in the Users' Note. Routines are provided to control the number of threads, test whether you have active threads, get a thread's unique thread number and enable and disable nested parallelism. Readers are directed to How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for a wider discussion on parallelism.
As these routines apply to the whole program they will affect the OpenMP in your calling program, OpenMP used internally in the NAG Library and also multi-threading in any underlying vendor libraries, where provided. See the Users' Note of your implementation for information on what underlying libraries have been used and for the scope of the X06 routines.
OpenMP uses the notion of Internal Control Variables (ICVs) to control the behaviour of a multi-threaded program. There are only two that are relevant to this chapter. One is used in determining the number of threads and the other controls the nesting of parallel regions. The user does not have direct access to ICVs, but they can be changed or reported with a call to an X06 routine.

3  Recommendations on Choice and Use of Available Routines

The routine X06XAF can be used to determine, at runtime, whether you are using a multi-threaded implementation of the NAG Library or not.

3.1  Multi-threaded Implementations of the NAG Library

If you are not using OpenMP in your program we recommend you set the number of threads with the OMP_NUM_THREADS environment variable as described in the Users' Note. This is the number of threads that will then be used in multi-threaded NAG Library routines. The ICV is set from this environment variable but the value can be changed with a call to X06AAF. It applies to the next parallel region, whether that is your own, one encountered by a NAG routine or an underlying vendor library routine.
Whilst the ICV strongly influences the number of threads used, the design of OpenMP is such that it does not dictate it. Many factors affect the number of threads in a particular parallel region including, but not restricted to, the presence of a num_threads clause and the number of threads already in use by a program. However, in most cases the number of threads requested will be used. The value of the ICV is retrieved with a call to X06ACF. The return value is an upper bound on the number of threads. If it is crucial to know the number of threads that are actually in use for a particular parallel region we recommend you get this number with a call to X06ABF, once you are inside the parallel region.
OpenMP threads have a unique thread number, which can be retrieved for a particular thread by a call to X06ADF. The master thread is always numbered 0.
To check whether you are in an active parallel region, where there is more than one thread, X06AFF can be used.
The routines X06ABF, X06ADF and X06AFF are only relevant when called from within an OpenMP parallel region. This could be one of your own or one in a NAG routine. The cases where these routines apply to NAG routines are the ones which take a user-supplied function. There are routines in Chapters D01, D03, E05 and F01 which contain parallel regions that have calls to user-supplied functions from within them. You may, for example, wish to know the thread number, the number of threads or simply check whether this NAG parallel region is an active one in your supplied function.
Nested parallelism is where a parallel region is contained within another. That is, each thread in the outer region spawns its own inner parallel region of which it is the master thread. X06AGF can be used to enable nested parallelism by setting the nesting ICV. X06AHF can be used to retrieve the value of this ICV. Nesting will be disabled by default and you should have a good reason for using nested parallel regions with careful thought given to the hardware resources you have.
If you wish to call a NAG multi-threaded routine and have it execute in parallel from each thread in your own parallel region you will need to enable nested parallelism. If you do not enable it the NAG routine will simply execute in serial. When using nesting the environment variable OMP_NUM_THREADS can be given a comma-separated list of integers representing the number of threads you wish to use at each level of parallelism. Recall that X06AAF can be used to set the number of threads for the next parallel region. To change the number of threads for a NAG routine in this scenario, you would call X06AAF once inside your own parallel region.

3.2  Serial Implementations of the NAG Library

When using a serial implementation of the NAG Library the X06 routines return a value in line with your whole program being executed in serial. This is irrespective of what OMP_NUM_THREADS has been set to or if you have compiled your program with OpenMP.
Table 1 shows the behaviour of these routines in serial implementations of the NAG Library.
Note that underlying vendor libraries may still be using multi-threading. Check the Users' Note document of your implementation.
If you are using OpenMP in your code together with a serial implementation of the NAG Library, we recommend you use the OpenMP runtime library routines directly to control threading in your program.
Routine Behaviour when called from a serial implementation of the NAG Library
X06AAF No effect
X06ABF Returns 1
X06ACF Returns 1
X06ADF Returns 0
X06AFF Returns 0
X06AGF No effect
X06AHF Returns 0

4  Functionality Index

Active parallel region test X06AFF
Nested OpenMP Parallelism 
    enable or disable X06AGF
    get nesting status X06AHF
Number of OpenMP Threads 
    get upper bound for next parallel region X06ACF
    in current team X06ABF
    set for next parallel region X06AAF
Threaded library test X06XAF
Thread number X06ADF

5  Auxiliary Routines Associated with Library Routine Arguments


6  Routines Withdrawn or Scheduled for Withdrawal


X06 Chapter Contents
X06 Chapter Introduction (PDF version)
NAG Library Manual

© The Numerical Algorithms Group Ltd, Oxford, UK. 2016