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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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GMD | Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Geosci. Model Dev., 13, 2783–2804, 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Geosci. Model Dev., 13, 2783–2804, 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Development and technical paper 24 Jun 2020

Development and technical paper | 24 Jun 2020

Single-precision arithmetic in ECHAM radiation reduces runtime and energy consumption

Alessandro Cotronei and Thomas Slawig

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Cited articles

Adler, R., Huffman, G., Chang, A., Ferraro, R., Xie, P., Janowiak, J., Rudolf, B., Schneider, U., Curtis, S., Bolvin, D., Gruber, A., Susskind, J., and Arkin, P.: The Version 2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Monthly Precipitation Analysis (1979–Present), J. Hydrometeor., 4, 1147–1167, 2003. a
Dawson, A. and Düben, P. D.: rpe v5: an emulator for reduced floating-point precision in large numerical simulations, Geosci. Model Dev., 10, 2221–2230,, 2017. a
DKRZ: Yet Another exChange Tool, available at: (last access: 22 April 2020), 2013. a
Fagan, M., Schlachter, J., Yoshii, K., Leyffer, S., Palem, K., Snir, M., Wild, S., and Enz, C.: Overcoming the Power Wall by Exploiting Inexactness and Emerging COTS Architectural Features, Preprint ANL/MCS-P6040-0816, available at: (last access: 22 April 2020), 2016. a
IEEE Standards Association: IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic, Tech. rep., avaialble at: (last access: 22 April 2020), 2019. a
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We converted the radiation part of the atmospheric model ECHAM to single-precision arithmetic, using a step-by-step change in all modules. A small code portion still requires higher precision. The generated code can be easily changed from double to single precision and vice versa. The quality of the output of the single-precision version is comparable to observational data and the one of the original code. The runtime was reduced by 40 %, and the energy consumption could also be decreased.
We converted the radiation part of the atmospheric model ECHAM to single-precision arithmetic,...