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st: Stata/MP really exploiting my processor's 4 cores?


From   Patrik Morgetz <pmorgetz@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: Stata/MP really exploiting my processor's 4 cores?
Date   Mon, 12 Sep 2011 10:18:35 +0200

Hello everyone

In my university, some time ago, the IT people changed the computers,
and I got a laptop with a pretty good processor -Intel® Core™
i7-2630QM Processor (6M Cache, 2.00 GHz, 4 cores, 8 threads)-, 8GB ram
memory and running windows 7 (64-bits version).

These days I am running quite intensive processes in Stata
(bootstrapping and multinomial probit, both on large datasets), and it
takes a lot of time to run. So, since I have a capable processor to
run it, I asked the IT people to install Stata/MP, hoping that it will
run so much faster because the Stata/MP performance report
(http://www.stata.com/statamp/statamp.pdf) explains that "it
distributes many of Stata’s most computationally demanding tasks
across all the cores in your computer and thereby runs faster—much
faster".

At first glance, it seems that Stata/MP was correctly installed (it
works, and at start up it shows the "MP - Parallel Edition" label),
however, I did not notice a dramatic improvement in the performance,
so I am wondering whether it is really taking advantage of the
parallel processing capabilities of my processor. To make sure about
it, I closed every other program and put Stata to run the time
consuming bootstrapping process, then I opened the Windows Task
Manager to take a look to the performance tab where it shows the CPU
usage (it shows 8 slots, I guess, 2 threads per every core), and I
expected to see a high CPU usage in every slot there, because it would
suggest it is actually parallel processing. But it didn't !!!, it just
shows one of the CPU-8 slots at its maximum usage, and the others at
very low usage levels. I then tried running other Stata commands that
seems to be processing intensive (margins, roctab, roccomp, asmprobit,
mprobit), and the result was the same (one CPU-slot at top usage and
the others at very low levels).

So, I am afraid Stata/MP is not really taking advantage of the
parallel processing capabilities of my processor. Am I right?, is it
correct to determine parallel processing the way I am doing it?
And most importantly, if I am right and Stata/MP is not parallel
processing, how may I fix it? (I guess it is an installation problem,
but no idea how to deal with it). I am using Stata/MP version 11.2

So thank you very much for your help with this issue.

Regards,

Patrik Morgetz

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