Vector Dot Product (Sum Reduction)

Key RAJA features shown in this example:

  • RAJA::forall loop execution template
  • RAJA::RangeSegment iteration space construct
  • RAJA execution policies
  • RAJA::ReduceSum sum reduction template
  • RAJA reduction policies

In the example, we compute a vector dot product, ‘dot = (a,b)’, where ‘a’ and ‘b’ are two vectors length N and ‘dot’ is a scalar. Typical C-style code to compute the dot product and print its value afterward is:

  double dot = 0.0;

  for (int i = 0; i < N; ++i) {
    dot += a[i] * b[i];

  std::cout << "\t (a, b) = " << dot << std::endl;

Note that this operation performs a reduction, a computational pattern that produces a single result from a set of values. Reductions present a variety of issues that must be addressed to operate properly in parallel.

RAJA Variants

Different programming models support parallel reduction operations differently. Some models, such as CUDA, do not provide support for reductions at all and so such operations must be explicitly coded by users. It can be challenging to generate a correct and high performance implementation. RAJA provides portable reduction types that make it easy to perform reduction operations in loop kernels. The RAJA variants of the dot product computation show how to use the RAJA::ReduceSum sum reduction template type. RAJA provides other reduction types and also allows multiple reduction operations to be performed in a single kernel along with other computation. Please see Reductions for an example that does this.

Each RAJA reduction type takes a reduce policy template argument, which must be compatible with the execution policy applied to the kernel in which the reduction is used. Here is the RAJA sequential variant of the dot product computation:

  RAJA::ReduceSum<RAJA::seq_reduce, double> seqdot(0.0);

  RAJA::forall<RAJA::seq_exec>(RAJA::RangeSegment(0, N), [=] (int i) { 
    seqdot += a[i] * b[i]; 

  dot = seqdot.get();
  std::cout << "\t (a, b) = " << dot << std::endl;

The sum reduction object is defined by specifying the reduction policy RAJA::seq_reduce, which matches the loop execution policy, and a reduction value type (i.e., ‘double’). An initial value of zero for the sum is passed to the reduction object constructor. After the kernel executes, we use the ‘get’ method to retrieve the reduced value.

The OpenMP multi-threaded variant of the loop is implemented similarly:

  RAJA::ReduceSum<RAJA::omp_reduce, double> ompdot(0.0);

  RAJA::forall<RAJA::omp_parallel_for_exec>(RAJA::RangeSegment(0, N), [=] (int i) { 
    ompdot += a[i] * b[i]; 

  dot = ompdot.get();
  std::cout << "\t (a, b) = " << dot << std::endl;

Here, we use the RAJA::omp_reduce reduce policy to match the OpenMP loop execution policy.

Finally, the RAJA CUDA variant is achieved by using appropriate loop execution and reduction policies:

  RAJA::ReduceSum<RAJA::cuda_reduce, double> cudot(0.0);

  RAJA::forall<RAJA::cuda_exec<CUDA_BLOCK_SIZE>>(RAJA::RangeSegment(0, N), 
    [=] RAJA_DEVICE (int i) { 
    cudot += a[i] * b[i]; 

  dot = cudot.get();
  std::cout << "\t (a, b) = " << dot << std::endl;

Here, the CUDA reduce policy RAJA::cuda_reduce matches the CUDA loop execution policy. Note that the CUDA thread block size is not specified in the reduce policy as it will use the same value as the loop execution policy.

It is worth noting how similar the code looks for each of these variants. The loop body is identical for each and only the loop execution policy and reduce policy types change.

The file RAJA/examples/tut_dot-product.cpp contains the complete working example code.