London software testing news UK

Platform independent numerical library IMSL

Posted in General by testing in London on July 23, 2007

From Dr Dobbs Portal

The benefits of having a platform-independent numerical library such as IMSL benefit customers in three ways:

  • Application developers typically focus their energy addressing the unique requirements of their application and utilize existing core routines for basic linear and algebra routines (rough analogy: carpenters build the building but don’t make their own hammers). Open source routines are available but they are generally not as good or robust. Those who require more advance routines for: FFTs, Interpolation, Differential equations, Regressions, etc. may be faced with limited choices: develop their own or use a commercial library such as IMSL. Thousands of applications use IMSL routines as their underlying libraries.
  • The fact that the same IMSL routines, which operate in the same manner, are available on multiple platforms makes porting applications to different environments much easier because the underlying math routines are already there.
  • Savings is in time and resource by using IMSL rather than developing, testing, debugging and deploying a basic routine usually pays for the cost of an IMSL license.

Absoft has been porting the IMSL library to various platforms for over 17 years. The library consists of almost 8500 FORTRAN 77 and Fortran 90 source files. Porting is simplified with an extensive makefile system developed for the gnu toolset (make, as, ar, ld, ranlib, etc).

The first step is to build the library at the highest optimization level. The library is then tested with an extensive test suite. Failures are identified and optimization is reduced until the failure is eliminated.

There are four library configurations: basic, SMP (with ATLAS BLAS), MPI, and MPI/SMP.

Once all test cases pass for all library configurations, the library is submitted to VNI for final acceptance testing and packaging.

Neither the 32-bit nor the 64-bit port of the library posed any significant problems on the Macintosh.

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