Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category

Multiprocessor (core) software (think Stata/MP) and percent parallelization

When most people first think about software designed to run on multiple cores such as Stata/MP, they think to themselves, two cores, twice as fast; four cores, four times as fast. They appreciate that reality will somehow intrude so that two cores won’t really be twice as fast as one, but they imagine the intrusion is something like friction and nothing that an intelligently placed drop of oil can’t improve.

In fact, something inherent intrudes. In any process to accomplish something—even physical processes—some parts may be able to to be performed in parallel, but there are invariably parts that just have to be performed one after the other. Anyone who cooks knows that you sometimes add some ingredients, cook a bit, and then add others, and cook some more. So it is, too, with calculating xt = f(xt-1) for t=1 to 100 and t0=1. Depending on the form of f(), sometimes there’s no alternative to calculating x1 = f(x0), then calculating x2 = f(x1), and so on. Read more…

Stata/MP — having fun with millions

I was reviewing some timings from the Stata/MP Performance Report this morning. (For those who don’t know, Stata/MP is the version of Stata that has been programmed to take advantage of multiprocessor and multicore computers. It is functionally equivalent to the largest version of Stata, Stata/SE, and it is faster on multicore computers.)

What was unusual this morning is that I was running Stata/MP interactively. We usually run MP for large batch jobs that run thousands of timings on large datasets — either to tune performance or to produce reports like the Performance Report. That is the type of work Stata/MP was designed for — big jobs on big datasets. Read more…

Big computers

We here at Stata are often asked to make recommendations on the “best” computer on which to run Stata, and such discussions sometimes pop up on Statalist. Of course, there is no simple answer, as it depends on the analyses a given user wishes to run, the size of their datasets, and their budget. And, we do not recommend particular computer or operating system vendors. Many manufacturers use similar components in their computers, and the choice of operating system comes down to personal preference of the user. We take pride in making sure Stata works well regardless of operating system and hardware configuration.

For some users, the analyses they wish to run are demanding, the datasets they have are huge, and their budgets are large. For these users, it is useful to know what kind of off-the-shelf hardware they can easily get their hands on. To give you an idea of what is available, HP makes a server with up to 1 TB of memory. Yes, 1 terabyte! This computer can be configured and ordered online at Read more…

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