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OpenMP on OS X using gcc

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 13.28.28

These instructions are for OS X Mavericks. Upgrading to el Capitan will almost certainly prevent this from working, due to the system integrity protection features that were introduced.

Clang 3.8.0 supports OpenMP, but the version of clang included with the Xcode command-line tools does not. Since clang is the default compiler for R on OS X, R packages that use OpenMP directives will run in parallel on Linux or Windows, but single-threaded on Mac OS. Both of my R packages, serrsBayesbayesImageS, were written with Rcpp using OpenMP, so this is a problem for me. I do most of my heavy computation on a Linux cluster, but I develop and test a lot of code on my iMac. I’d really like my code to make full use of the multicore i7 CPU, rather than taking 5-8 times longer to run.

There are two main options for compiling with OpenMP on Mac OS: installing the latest Clang from LLVM, or installing gcc and replacing the symbolic link in /usr/bin. When I first encountered this issue, LLVM clang still didn’t support all of the #pragma omp directives, so I chose the second option. You still need to install gcc to get gfortran support on OS X, so that seemed like the best option. However, in Mac OS 10.11 (el Capitan), /usr/bin is read only.

Whichever option you choose, you then need to add the following lines to your personal or site-specific Makevars file:

CXX=/usr/local/bin/g++ -arch x86_64 -ftemplate-depth-256
PKG_LIBS = `$(R_HOME)/bin/Rscript -e "Rcpp:::LdFlags()"` -fopenmp
CXXFLAGS += -fopenmp

Warning: it is definitely a bad idea to add these lines to an R package Makevars, since it will break the build for any Mac OS user who compiles with clang instead of gcc (sorry, Jake…)

Single-threaded, my Metropolis-Hastings algorithm takes 45 seconds for 10,000 iterations. When I compile with OpenMP enabled, it takes 27 sec. Not a huge speedup perhaps, but it makes a big difference for longer-running computation.

Note that some R packages, such as rstan, modify the personal Makevars file. If OpenMP suddenly stops working, that could be the culprit. Check ~/.R/Makevars and make sure that the above settings are still intact.

Haar wavelets in Google docs (and R)


Igor recently posted some interesting data, showing the change in temperature over time with 2 different types of fan, or without any cooling. This data exhibits some unusual features: the underlying trend is smooth, over a long timeframe (minutes) but there is also periodic switching between “low” and “high” signal, which is sometimes accompanied by jitter. I’ll first show how to generate some similar data in R, then how we might compute the discrete wavelet transform (DWT) in Google Sheets. Of course, the simplest solution is often the best (unless you work in research…), so check out Igor’s post for a quicker way to filter this data.

Read more…

R with MKL on Windows 10

Following up on my previous post, a commenter on Reddit asked to see a comparison with Microsoft R Open using multithreaded Intel MKL:

Microsoft R Open 3.2.5
Default CRAN mirror snapshot taken on 2016-05-01
The enhanced R distribution from Microsoft
Visit for information
about additional features.

Multithreaded BLAS/LAPACK libraries detected. Using 4 cores for math algorithms.

RcppEigen, RcppArmadillo & RcppGSL were all installed from MRAN as binary packages. As expected, MKL outperforms GotoBLAS:

lm benchmark for n = 1650 and p = 875: nrep = 20
   user system elapsed 
1908.28  27.55 1870.58 

   test relative elapsed user.self sys.self
3  LDLt    1.000    4.61      4.44     0.18
7  QR      1.386    6.39      6.12     0.25
8  LLt     1.460    6.73      6.42     0.32
1  1.631    7.52      7.40     0.08
9  arma    2.206   10.17     37.87     2.70
4  GESDD   2.560   11.80     43.82     2.86
6  SymmEig 5.514   25.42     25.14     0.26
2  PivQR   9.857   45.44     25.26    20.15
5  SVD   188.666  869.75    868.87     0.42
10 GSL   191.262  881.72    881.45     0.27

There are none of the multi-threading issues that I observed in the previous benchmark. Elapsed time for improves from 18.11 to 7.52, arma improves from 90.03 to 10.17, and GESDD improves from 90.77 to 11.80 seconds (in comparison to default libRblas). Compared with single-threaded SurviveGotoBLAS, MKL gives a 3x speedup for RcppArmadillo and GESDD. The other methods all perform roughly the same, since they do not rely on the BLAS library.

Bayesian modelling and quantification of Raman spectroscopy


The research that I presented at Oxford and QUT is now available on arXiv. The abstract is below:

Raman spectroscopy is a technique for detecting and identifying molecules such as DNA. It is sensitive at very low concentrations and can accurately quantify the amount of a given molecule in a sample. The presence of a large, nonuniform background presents a major challenge to analysis of these spectra. We introduce a sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithm to separate the observed spectrum into a series of peaks plus a smoothly-varying baseline, corrupted by additive white noise. Our model-based approach accounts for differences in resolution and experimental conditions. By incorporating this representation into a Bayesian functional regression, we can quantify the relationship between molecular concentration and peak intensity, resulting in an improved estimate of the limit of detection. We also calculate the model evidence using SMC to investigate long-range dependence between peaks.

This is joint work with Mark Girolami (Warwick & ATI), Jake Carson (Warwick), Kirsten Gracie, Karen Faulds & Duncan Graham (Strathclyde).

Talk at Oxford on Friday March 11


I’ve been invited to present my work on sequential Monte Carlo methods for Raman spectroscopy at the Oxford Computational Statistics and Machine Learning Reading Group (OCSMLRG), 11am on Friday 11 March. I’ve made some good progress since my seminar at QUT last year, so I’m looking forward to presenting these methods for a new audience. The abstract of my talk is below.

Read more…

R with GotoBLAS on Windows 10

In my experience, the default libRblas gives horrible performance across all of the platforms that I regularly use (Windows, Mac OS & Linux). The R package that I’m currently developing uses RcppEigen, which is not dependent on an efficient BLAS or LAPACK library. However, many other R packages do have this dependency. Therefore, I would recommend following the instructions in the R Installation and Administration guide to switch over to a more efficient implementation. Avraham AdlerTony Fischetti and Zachary Mayer have written similar blog posts on this topic. I use the Accelerate Umbrella Framework (vecLib) on OS X and Intel MKL with icc on Linux. The following instructions describe how (and why) to install GotoBLAS for R on Microsoft Windows.

Read more…

Latest publications & preprints

The first paper from my postdoc at Warwick has been accepted and is now available online:

Gracie, Moores, Smith, Harding, Girolami, Graham & Faulds, “Preferential attachment of specific fluorescent dyes and dye labelled DNA sequences in a SERS multiplex,” to appear in Analytical Chemistry. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b02776

No Bayesian methods in this one, as the model and algorithms are still under development (watch this space…) Instead, I use nonparametric bootstrap confidence intervals for comparison of Raman peak intensity.

I also have two middle-author papers accepted from my PhD work. The first is a review of Bayesian modelling and computation for satellite imagery:

Falk, Alston, McGrory, Clifford, Heron, Leonte, Moores, Walsh, Pettitt & Mengersen (2015) “Recent Bayesian approaches for spatial analysis of 2-D images with application to environmental modelling,” Environmental and Ecological Statistics 22(3): 571-600. DOI: 10.1007/s10651-015-0311-1

The second paper introduces a method for aligning 3D CT scans using DICOM coordinates:

Hargrave, Mason, Guidi, Miller, Becker, Moores, Mengersen, Poulsen & Harden, “Automated replication of cone beam CT-guided treatments in the Pinnacle³ treatment planning system for adaptive radiotherapy,” to appear in the Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences. DOI: 10.1002/jmrs.141

There are also two draft papers available as online pre-prints:

Drovandi, Moores & Boys, “Accelerating Pseudo-Marginal MCMC using Gaussian Processes,” Technical Report, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Moores, Pettitt & Mengersen, “Scalable Bayesian Inference for the Inverse Temperature of a Hidden Potts Model,” arXiv:1503.08066 [stat.CO]

Last but not least, my thesis has been posted on the QUT ePrints server:

Moores (2015) “Bayesian computational methods for spatial analysis of images,” PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

An extended abstract is available online:

Moores (2016) “Bayesian computational methods for spatial analysis of images,” to appear in the Bulletin of the Australian Mathematical Society. DOI: 10.1017/S0004972715001598

2015 was a very busy and successful year. Looking forward to publishing more great science with all of my co-authors in 2016!


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