AMD Radeon Open Compute Framework 3.7 Released

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AMD released a new version of their Radeon Open Compute framework this weekend. This is the first ROCm version with official support for Ubuntu 20.04. There is also support for OpenMP 5.0 and direct GPU-to-GPU communications in the ROCm Communications Collective Library.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin) 2020-08-25 - last edited 2020-08-26. © CC BY

AMD HD7850 GPU.20200108.jpg
Old AMD GPU not capable of being used for AMD ROCm.

Radeon Open Compute (ROCm) is a fairly complete free and open GPU compute framework from AMD similar to the proprietary, closed and totally market-dominating CUDA compute framework from graphics card market leader Nvidia.

ROCm can be used to get OpenCL 2.0 support and a lot more on select older and most newer AMD graphics cards. ROCm supports the Open Multi-Processing (OpenMP) API, Tensorflow, the MIOpen and MIOpenGEMM APIs for deep learning and quite a lot more developers will appreciate.

The Highlights

The OpenMP support in the custom LLVM "AOMP" build in ROCm 3.7 defaults to OpenMP 5.0 in this release. It is possible to force OpenMP 4.5 compliance with -fopenmp-version=45. AOMP is a special LLVM build with support for GPU offloading with OpenMP, HIP, CUDA and OpenCL. The special ROCm "AOMP" LLVM build has a lot of features that are not (yet) part of the upstream LLVM distribution.

The ROCm Communications Collective Library (RCCL) shipped with ROCm 3.7 is compatible with version 2.7 of the Nvidia Communications Collective Library (NCCL) API. There is also new support for direct GPU-to-GPU send and receive operations in the RCCL library. Direct GPU-to-GPU communications using PCIe, xGMI, TCP/IP sockets and InfiniBand Verbs is supported.

The OpenCL is the most interesting part of ROCm for those of us who do not have a data-center with racks of machines with multiple graphics cards in the basement. ROCm 3.7 supports OpenCL 2.0 "Full profile".

Ubuntu 20.04 Is Now A Supported Platform

The list of GNU/Linux distributions that are "officially" supported by AMD as ROCm platforms is very short. This release adds Ubuntu 20.04 to that list of supported distributions:

  • Ubuntu 20.04
  • Ubuntu 18.04.4 (with kernel 5.3 or newer)
  • CentOS 7.8 & RHEL 7.8 (with kernel 3.10.0-1127 or newer & using devtoolset-7 runtime support)
  • CentOS 8.2 & RHEL 8.2 (with kernel 4.18.0 or newer)
  • SLES 15 SP1

You can easily install the RHEL packages on other similar systems like Fedora and the Ubuntu packages should work on other distributions like KDE Neon that are based on it.

You can find fairly straight-forward installation instructions for the supported distributions at /en/latest/Installation_Guide/Installation-Guide.html. You may also want to check the AMD ROCm Release Notes v3.7.0.

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