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Power Fractal Software

High-performance parallel software utilizing:

  • AltiVec, a.k.a. the Velocity Engine
  • Multiprocessing ("MP") and multi-Core
  • SSE & SSE2
  • Universal (Intel & PowerPC)
  • MPI over TCP/IP, via MacMPI_XUB
  • Carbon (OS 9 & X)

  • Single Node Performance of the Power Fractal app

    Single Node Power Fractal

    4-Node Parallel Performance of the Power Fractal app using Pooch

    Parallel Node Power Fractal
    Power Fractal v1.4.1 (160 kB) - A numerically-intensive parallel graphics application that uses the vector hardware, multiple processors or Cores (MP), and cluster computing (via MPI) for its computations. Power Fractal takes simultaneously advantage of both the Velocity Engine, a.k.a. AltiVec, and SSE, when available. This code will also compute correctly on single processor machines and non-vector processors. This code uses the MacMPI_XUB.c library for communcations and and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and Pooch

    New in version 1.4.1: Newly reoptimized SSE code and fractal presets for the new 8-Core Mac Pro, where it can achieve over 80 GigaFlops. Thanks xlr8yourmac!

    New in version 1.4: As a Universal Application, this code can utilitze large, mixed clusters of PowerPC G3s, G4s, G5s and Intel Cores simultaneously, making this the first application to utilize Universal Clustering. (Requires Pooch v1.7.) See the the DR product line for more examples.


    We also provide a Carbon CFM version of Power Fractal that requires Mac OS 10.2 or later, or Mac OS 8.5 or later with CarbonLib 1.2 or later,

    New in version 1.3: This app's parallelization organization has been rewritten to be optimized for large clusters of PowerPC G5s, enabling it to achieve over 1.21 TeraFlop!

    This code has achieved:

    Your results may vary. Click on the above links for benchmark information.

    To run this app on a single Intel- or PowerPC-based Mac, no additional software is necessary.

    To run this in parallel on Intel and PowerPC Macs, you will need Pooch.
    Version 1.1 includes automated "Computational Grid" launching on a Mac cluster running version 1.1 of Pooch.

    See the Pooch Quick Start for instructions on configuring your Macs for parallel computing. For information about writing your own parallel applications, see the Parallel Fractal GPL source code, the Cluster Software Development Kit, and the Compiling MPI page.

    Behind the Scenes
    What the AltiVec source code of Power Fractal looks like

    The Power Fractal app contains code for both the z -> z^2 + c and z -> z^4 + c Mandelbrot-style iteration methods. Although the z^4 case is selected by default, the z^2 case is shown below for simplicity.

    The innermost loop of the iteration for the regular FPU case is:

    //12 flops per iteration (counted in the assembly language)
    float tr;

    if (tr>sqrmaxrad) {

    To rewrite the above code for AltiVec, the multiplications, additions, and subtractions must be reexpressed in AltiVec macros, such as vec_madd and vec_nmsub. The comparison operations must be performed in vector form as well, here using vec_cmpgt, vec_and, and vec_any_ne. Note that there is no such thing as a simple floating-point multiply in AltiVec; you must add to something after the multiply. Thus an add to zero is required to complete the iteration loop.

    The corresponding loop, converted to AltiVec is:

    //13 flops - 1 add to zero = 12 flops per iteration
    vector float tr;


    vector bool int exitMask=vec_and(vec_cmpgt(tr, sqrmaxrad),loopMask);
    if (vec_any_ne(exitMask,zeroInt)) {

    This is the primary difference between the AltiVec and non-AltiVec version of the z^2 code. The remaining differences involve preparing the vector variables with the appropriate data prior to the iteration loop and saving the final data out into a regular array of floating-point numbers for later conversion to pixel data.

    For a slightly more complex example of vectorized code, compare sections of the DoSqueezeToLetterboxEffect() routine in the source code of the iMovie Squeeze to Letterbox plug-in on the Other Software page.

    © Copyright 2001-2006 Dauger Research, Inc. All rights reserved. PO Box 3074, Huntington Beach, CA 92605 USA