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Re: st: Stata (gllamm) benchmarks for different platforms?

From   John Hennen <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: Stata (gllamm) benchmarks for different platforms?
Date   Sat, 24 Apr 2004 08:54:13 -0400

Buzz Burhans wrote:

Over the past few days Fred Wolfe and I have exchanged some information
relative to differences in running Stata on the newer AMD chips under
Linux (64-bit processing) or Win XP (32-bit processing), where the chips
were similar (but not identical) clockspeed.  We thought that perhaps
some of the results and other info we exchanged might be of interest to
others, so we are submitting it for general information.
And then later:

Following this exchange, we both ran a small dataset and the same .do
file which ran two almost identical calls to -gllamm-. The difference
between Program1 and Program2 is that the exact same model is run in
both cases, with the single difference being that in Program1 there are
2 level 2 random effects, and in program 2 an additional random effect
was added so there are 3 random effects.
And then later:

These were our results:
1) Both machines produced exactly the same numeric results for the
GLLAMM programs.
2) The Linux machine was faster.

Program 1
Linux                   Windows XP                  % Faster
 16.75                  25.51       minutes         29.0%


Buzz Burhans or Fred Wolfe:
Would you be willing to post the small dataset and the Stata code
(perhaps just Program 1) that you used in these experiments so that
other Stata users could compare the speed of their Stata setups with the
above data?  This might provide some helpful information to users
contemplating hardware upgrades.

John Hennen

The Win XP machine  was manufactured by Velocity Micro 1 month age, and
as far as I could determine at the time was the fastest Windows XP Pro
machine available.
It uses a single Atholon 64 FX-51 Processor at 2.4 GHz (front bus 200
Mhz). It has 2 GB of memory. Stata ran in a 200 MB partition. The data
and overhead for the programs used 47.4K of memory. Disks were 2 Raid 0
Sata at 10,000 RPM.

The Linux setup is running under SuSE v9 on a box supplied by Penguin
Computing Inc. about a month ago.  It is running an Opteron 246 chip at
2.0 MHz (there is a faster Opteron available from Penguin, the 248 @ 2.2
MHz ).The hard drive was an 80GB Seagate IDE @ 7200 RPM.  The speed
differences here, it must be remembered, were between two newer chips,
my original comparison with a Pentium 4 2.0 MHz chip had the Linux
Opteron running at a 370% improvement in speed.

Although the Windows machine was slower than the Linux machine, it is
still very fast. Stata graphs that were rather slow in my 4 year old
Windows 2000 machine run at a very acceptable speed on the new machine,
about 3.5 times faster. Non-Windows users on the list often comment on
problems of stability and compatibility in the Windows OS. My machine
has been rock solid, and there have been no problems whatsoever (Windows
and its programs have improved over the years).

My machine came with "Windows Media Player." I thought I would have
little interest in it. But it plays music beautifully. Playing Bach
Partitas makes Stata run 40% faster, or so it seems.

There is now available a beta version of a 64 bit XP. If this version
becomes available this year we would expect the speed of XP on a 64 bit
Athlon to increase substantially.

Compared to the data set that Buzz provided for the test, I usually run
data sets that have 100 to 1,000 time more observations. One would hope
that future increases in the speed of GLLAMM with DLLs might make it
more usable.

Buzz Burhans
[email protected]

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