GEVO: GPU Code Optimization Using Evolutionary Computation

Jhe Yu Liou, Xiaodong Wang, Stephanie Forrest, Carole Jean Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


GPUs are a key enabler of the revolution in machine learning and high-performance computing, functioning as de facto co-processors to accelerate large-scale computation. As the programming stack and tool support have matured, GPUs have also become accessible to programmers, who may lack detailed knowledge of the underlying architecture and fail to fully leverage the GPU's computation power. GEVO (Gpu optimization using EVOlutionary computation) is a tool for automatically discovering optimization opportunities and tuning the performance of GPU kernels in the LLVM representation. GEVO uses population-based search to find edits to GPU code compiled to LLVM-IR and improves performance on desired criteria while retaining required functionality. We demonstrate that GEVO improves the execution time of general-purpose GPU programs and machine learning (ML) models on NVIDIA Tesla P100. For the Rodinia benchmarks, GEVO improves GPU kernel runtime performance by an average of 49.48% and by as much as 412% over the fully compiler-optimized baseline. If kernel output accuracy is relaxed to tolerate up to 1% error, GEVO can find kernel variants that outperform the baseline by an average of 51.08%. For the ML workloads, GEVO achieves kernel performance improvement for SVM on the MNIST handwriting recognition (3.24×) and the a9a income prediction (2.93×) datasets with no loss of model accuracy. GEVO achieves 1.79× kernel performance improvement on image classification using ResNet18/CIFAR-10, with less than 1% model accuracy reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3418055
JournalACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • GPU code optimization
  • Genetic improvement
  • LLVM intermediate representation
  • approximate computing
  • multi-objective evolutionary computation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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