Course on CUDA Programming on NVIDIA GPUs, March 18-22, 2024, at UT Austin

This is a 1-week hands-on course for students, postdocs, academics and others who want to learn how to develop applications to run on NVIDIA GPUs using the CUDA programming environment. All that will be assumed is some proficiency with C and basic C++ programming. No prior experience with parallel computing will be assumed.

The course consists of approximately 3 hours of lectures and 4 hours of practicals each day. The aim is that by the end of the course you will be able to write relatively simple programs and will be confident and able to continue learning through studying the examples provided by NVIDIA on GitHub.

All attendees should bring a laptop to access the GPUs servers on TACC.


The lectures and practicals will all take place in POB Seminar Room 4.304 in the Oden Institute. Attendees should bring fully-charged laptops for carrying out the practicals.


For the first three days we will follow this timetable: On the last two days we will switch to having both lectures in the morning, and then have practicals all afternoon. This provides more time for longer practicals.

Preliminary Reading

Please read chapters 1 and 2 of the NVIDIA CUDA C Programming Guide which is available both as PDF and online HTML.

CUDA is an extension of C/C++, so if you are a little rusty with C/C++ you should refresh your memory of it.

Additional References



We will be working under Linux on GPU nodes which are part of TACC's Frontera system. Before starting the practicals, please read these notes on using the Frontera system, and have a look at the online Frontera User Guide.

Datasheet for Quadro RTX 5000 GPU which we will be using in our practicals.

The practicals all use these header files (helper_cuda.h, helper_string.h) which came originally from the CUDA SDK. They provide routines for error-checking and initialisation.

Tar files for all practicals

Practical 1

Application: a trivial "hello world" example

CUDA aspects: launching a kernel, copying data to/from the graphics card, error checking and printing from kernel code Note: the instructions explain how files can be copied from my user account so there's no need to download from here

Practical 2

Application: Monte Carlo simulation using NVIDIA's CURAND library for random number generation

CUDA aspects: constant memory, random number generation, kernel timing, minimising device memory bandwidth requirements

Practical 3

Application: 3D Laplace finite difference solver

CUDA aspects: thread block size optimisation, multi-dimensional memory layout, performance profiling

Practical 4

Application: reduction

CUDA aspects: dynamic shared memory, thread synchronisation

Practical 5

Application: using the CUBLAS and CUFFT libraries

Practical 6

Application: revisiting the simple "hello world" example

CUDA aspects: using g++ for the main code, building libraries, using templates

Practical 7

Application: tri-diagonal equations

Practical 8

Application: scan operation and recurrence equations

Practical 9

Application: pattern matching

Practical 10

Application: auto-tuning

Practical 11

Application: streams and OpenMP multithreading

Practical 12

Application: more on streams and overlapping computation and communication


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