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CUDA in R on macOS X

March 5, 2018

The R package gputools has been consumed in the CRANpocalypse, but version 1.1 and earlier can still be downloaded as a source package from the archive. In order to compile it for macOS 10.12.6 (Sierra), you will need to install version 8 of the CUDA Toolkit as well as version 8.2.1 of the Xcode command-line tools. Even then, there are some major configuration issues that need to be dealt with. For the exceptionally brave, the excruciating details are below…

Depending on your configuration, you might need to edit the following file:


and change this line:

MAIN_LDFLAGS = -fopenmp

to something like this (depending where you installed CUDA):

MAIN_LDFLAGS = -L/usr/local/cuda/lib

This fixes the following error from nvcc:

** arch - 
/usr/local/cuda/bin/nvcc -shared   -fopenmp -L/usr/local/lib -F/Library/Frameworks/R.framework/.. -framework R -lpcre -llzma -lbz2 -lz -licucore -lm -liconv  -lpcre -llzma -lbz2 -lz -licucore -lm -liconv -lcublas -lnvrtc -lcuda  rinterface.o mi.o sort.o granger.o qrdecomp.o correlation.o hcluster.o distance.o matmult.o lsfit.o kendall.o cuseful.o -o
nvcc fatal   : Unknown option 'fopenmp'
make: *** [] Error 1
ERROR: compilation failed for package ‘gputools’

Note: this is probably why the package was removed from CRAN…

You might also need to edit ~/.R/Makevars if you followed my previous instructions on how to compile parallel OpenMP code on macOS X.

There is a second line that also causes problems with nvcc:

LIBR = -F/Library/Frameworks/R.framework/.. -framework R

Thanks to this post on StackExchange, which references this post in the nVidia forum, this line should be changed to:

LIBR = -Xlinker -framework,R

Finally, remember to set the following environment variables:

export CUDA_HOME=/usr/local/cuda
export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/cuda/lib/:$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH

Final note: system-wide changes to Makeconf are generally a very bad idea. The instructions above are likely to break compilation for any other (non-CUDA) R packages. Therefore, I would recommend reverting all of these changes once gputools has been successfully installed. Alternatively, you might want to investigate other R packages that provide CUDA support…


From → GPU, R

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