Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Advanced Analytics on Apache Spark

Developed in AMPLab at UC Berkeley, Apache Spark has become an increasingly popular platform to perform large scale analysis on Big Data. With run-times up to 100x faster than MapReduce, Spark is well suited for machine learning applications.

Spark is written in Scala but has APIs for Java and Python. As the NAG Library is accessible from both Java and Python, this allows Spark users access to over 1600 high quality mathematical routines. The NAG Library covers areas such as:
  • Machine Learning including
    • Linear regression (with constraints)
    • Logistic regression (with constraints)
    • Principal Component Analysis (A good article relating Machine Learning and PCA can be found here)
    • Hierarchical cluster analysis
    • K-means
  • Statistics including
    • Summary information (mean, variance, etc)
    • Correlation
    • Probabilities and deviates for normal, student-t, chi-squared, beta, and many more distributions
    • Random number generation
    • Quantiles
  • Optimization including
    • Linear, nonlinear, quadratic, and sum of squares for the objective function
    • Constraints can be simple bounds, linear, or even nonlinear
  • Matrix functions
    • Inversion
    • Nearest correlation
    • Eigenvalues + eigenvectors

Calling the NAG Library on Spark

The fundamental datatype used in Spark is the Resilient Distributed Dataset (RDD). A RDD acts as a pointer to your distributed data on the filesystem. This object has intuitive methods (count, sample, filter, map/reduce, etc) and lazy evaluation that allow for fast and easy manipulation of distributed data.

Below is a simple Python example of using the NAG Library in Spark to calculate the cumulative Normal distribution function on a set of numbers (the message passing output from Spark has been omitted):

SparkContext available as sc
>>>  from nag4py.s import nag_cumul_normal
>>>  myNumbers = sc.parallelize( [-2.0, -1.0, 0.0, 1.0, 2.0] )
>>>  myNumbers.takeSample(False, 5, 0)
[ 0.0, -2.0, -1.0, 1.0, 2.0] 

>>> nag_cumul_normal ).takeSample(False, 5, 0)
[0.5, 0.02275, 0.15865, 0.84134, .97725]

It should be noted that the vast majority of the algorithms employed in the NAG library require all relevant data to be held in memory. This may seem to deviate from the Spark ecosystem, however when working with large datasets, two usage scenarios are commonly seen:
  1. The full dataset is split into subsets, for example a dataset covering the whole world may be split by country, county and city and an independent analysis carried out on each subset. In such cases all the relevant data for a given analysis may be held on a single node and therefore can be processed directly by NAG library routines.
  2. A single analysis is required that utilizes the full dataset. In this case it is sometimes possible to reformulate the problem. For example many statistical techniques can be reformulated as a maximum likelihood optimization problem. The objective function of such an optimization (the likelihood) can then be evaluated using the standard Spark map/reduce functions and the results fed back to one of the robust optimization routines available in the NAG library.

For more information on using the NAG Library in Spark or any of the other topics touched upon in this article please contact NAG at

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Adding a Slider Widget to Implied Volatility

In the last post on Implied Volatility, we downloaded real options data from the CBOE and calculated the volatility curves/surface. We saw the calculations of 30,000 implied volatilities in roughly 10 seconds. 

In this post we concentrate on the speed of calculating implied volatility via a variety of different methods. We look at the volatility curve/surface using Python's Scipy, the NAG Library for Python, and the NAG C Library. In addition, we've added a slider widget to the Python graphs from before to see the real-time effects of changing the interest and dividend rates (see the video below). All the code can be downloaded to produce the graphs, and a NAG license is not required for the case using scipy.optimize.fsolve.

The script and utility methods can be downloaded from here. The script begins by generating sample option prices. These are fed through different root finding methods (chosen by the user) to back out the implied volatilities. 

The methods tested include:
1) scipy (scipy.optimize.fsolve) - A wrapper around the hybrd and hybrj algorithms in the MINPACK Fortran library, followed by a Python Black-Scholes formula.
2) nag4py (The NAG Library for Python) - A wrapper (nag_zero_cont_funct_brent) around Brent's method for the root-finding, followed by nag_bsm_price for the Black-Scholes formula.
3) ctypes (The NAG C Library, Mark 23) - The same NAG functions as (2), but the looping and calculations are done directly in C, rather than through the nag4py wrapper layer. This requires building a shared library on your own machine, which is then loaded from the main script.

Running the Script

You can run the script using the following command, where a_method is one of {scipy, nag4py, ctypes}:
$ python --method a_method

Note that option (3) (ctypes) requires you to build a shared library. The build command for Windows, Linux and Mac can be found below. NAGCDIR should be the directory of your NAG C Library installation. The C code (nag_imp_vol.c) is included in the download.

    gcc -Wl,--no-undefined -fPIC -shared nag_imp_vol.c -INAGCDIR/include NAGCDIR/lib/ -o

    gcc -fPIC -shared nag_imp_vol.c -INAGCDIR/include NAGCDIR/lib/libnagc_nag.dylib -o nag_imp_vol.dylib

    cl /LD /DLL /MD -I"NAGCDIR\include" nag_imp_vol.c /link /LIBPATH:"NAGCDIR\lib" "NAGCDIR\lib\nagc_nag_MD.lib"

Running the script with --method ctypes produces the following result:

Timing the methods

We've added a timer around the first call when calculating the implied volatilities. You can also change n_strikes in to alter the total number of calculations. The base case uses 50 strikes, 5 expirations, and 2 option types (Call and Put) for a total of N = 50 * 5 * 2 = 500 implied volatilities.

The approximate times in seconds of each method are displayed below. (N is the total number of implied volatilities calculated.)

N scipy nag4py NAG C Library
500 1.40 0.26 0.008
1000 2.84 0.50 0.016
2000 5.74 1.00 0.020
4000 11.40 1.99 0.033
Some notes:
  • While scipy.fsolve looks considerable slower than nag4py, this is not the case. The differences in speed are a result of calling a pure python Black-Scholes formula vs. using nag4py's nag_bsm_price function.
  • The times for fsolve and nag4py scale somewhat linearly, while the NAG C shared library doesn't. I suspect this is due to the overhead of preparing the data into numpy arrays before calling the shared library.
  • If you encounter dependencies issues with Scipy or Matplotlib, we recommend switching to a Python distribution such as Anaconda or Canopy.
  • The code uses serial implementations in NAG and Python. You could look at a more advanced version that uses multi-threading or call a function that solves a system of equations (scipy.optimize.root or nag_zero_nonlin_eqns_easy).
  • The above analysis is a very oversimplified model of implied volatility. In practice, one should use a more complex model and look at other root-finding methods (such as the rational approximation).
  • You can also increase the number of calculations past 4000, but Python seems to have trouble plotting and updating the graphs.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Problem needed for research on Bermudan Option Pricing Algorithms


NAG together with Prof. Oosterlee and an MSc student from TU Delft are investigating the recent Stochastic Grid Bundling Method (SGBM) [1,2]. The objective is to compare the performance of SGBM to the well-known Longstaff-Schwartz (least squares method or LSM) in a non-academic setting, i.e. on the pricing of a Bermudan option, with underlying asset(s) driven by a realistic process such as Heston or LMM. We are looking for an interesting case to test these two methods. This includes the type of option, the underlying processes and any other important features or details.


The well known LSM by Longstaff-Schwartz[3] is the industry standard for pricing multi-dimensional Bermudan options by simulation and regression. LSM is based on the regression now principle, whereas the Stochastic Grid Bundling Method (SGBM) by Jain and Oosterlee applies regression later in order to get more accurate approximations. However, this limits us to apply SGBM to processes where an analytical or approximate expression of the discounted moments are available.

Another advantage of SGBM is its regression on bundles instead of the whole data set in a further attempt to decrease the regression error, and SGBM allows the computation of the Greeks at almost no extra cost.

Numerical results show that, compared to LSM, a higher accuracy can be obtained at comparable computational time. However, these tests were performed on academic problems, using geometric Brownian motion for the underlying assets.

Very recent research (Feng and Oosterlee, Sept 2014) extended SGBM for stochastic volatility and stochastic interest rate dynamics (Heston-Hull-White). This led to the possibility of comparing the performance of SGBM in a non-academic setting and is the cause for our research. We therefore wish to compare LSM and SGBM on a problem which is interesting and relevant to industry. Realistically, handling all the complexities of traded products will probably require more time than we have (around two months), so ideally we seek a problem which captures all the salient features and allowing us to see whether SGBM outperforms LSM.

Industry Involvement

We would like some advice in defining the product to be valued, especially regarding dimensionality, process, correlation structure, payoff and exercise features. Any additional industry involvement will be light: perhaps a few emails to clarify details, a conf call or face to face meeting.

For correspondence or further details please email


[1] S. Jain and C. W. Oosterlee, "The Stochastic Grid Bundling Method: Efficient Pricing of Bermudan Options and their Greeks,'' papers, SSRN, Sept. 2013.
[2] S. Jain and C. W. Oosterlee, "Pricing high-dimensional Bermudan options using the stochastic grid method,'' International Journal of Computer Mathematics, 89(9):1186-1211, 2012.
[3] F. Longstaff and E. Schwartz,  "Valuing American Options by Simulation: a Simple Least-squares Approach,''  Review of Financial Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 113-147, 2001.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Gaussian Mixture Model

With the release of Mark 24 of the NAG C Library comes a plethora of new functionality including matrix functions, pricing Heston options w/term structure, best subset selection, and element-wise weightings for the nearest correlation matrix.

Among the new routines I was excited to test out was the Gaussian mixture model (g03ga). This routine will take a set of data points and fit a mixture of Gaussians for a given (co)variance structure by maximizing the log-likelihood function. The user inputs the (co)variance structure, number of groups, and (optionally) the initial membership probabilities.

I decided to test out this new functionality, which is also in Mark 24 of the NAG Toolbox for MATLAB. Often I will use MATLAB with the NAG Toolbox before switching to C++ and the NAG C Library for my production code. So I generated some data and tried the routine to see if it could find the covariance structure. You can download the script and try it out for yourself here. The example will generate the test data, run the NAG Gaussian mixture routine and plot the results. An example of the output is given below:

The blue points are the generated data, while the red and yellow ovals show the covariance structure output from NAG Gaussian mixture model (the ovals are contours of ~0.60 density for their respective groups).

While running the example a couple times and re-sampling through the starting values for the initial membership probabilities, I noticed what I thought to be unusual behavior for the routine. Namely, the Gaussian mixture model algorithm isn't able to identify the Gaussian mixtures. The function would occasionally converge to the below structure (run the above script and click 'Resample' 3 times):

It appears the routines has converged to local extrema of the likelihood function. This happens as a result of randomizing the initial membership probabilities.

Since we have the power of the NAG Library at our disposal, I've added a K-means clustering option in the above script to initialize the membership probabilities to a particular cluster before being input into the Gaussian mixture model.

My colleagues tell me that k-means can also get stuck in a local minima and exhibit this 'wrong' behavior as well, thus one should always be careful with initial allocations - luckily the NAG Library provides a generally acceptable default allocation as an option! Many thanks to Martyn Byng and Stephen Langdell for comments on this post.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Secrets of HPC Procurement

Liked my article today in HPC Wire "Secrets of the Supercomputers"? I firmly poke fun at various elements of an imaginary supercomputer procurement process. However, I'm sure many readers will also see familiar and painfully serious aspects in the fictional story.

As I mention at the bottom of that article, NAG can help make the process of buying HPC systems much better than the worrying case in the article.

For example, the tutorial I ran at SC13 with Terry Hewitt titled "Effective Procurement of HPC Systems" was very popular (~100 attendees). We have provided similar training as part of consulting engagements and we are now looking at running the tutorial again as an open short course.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Testing Matrix Function Algorithms Using Identities

Edvin Deadman and Nick Higham (University of Manchester) write:

In a previous blog post we explained how testing new algorithms is difficult. We discussed the forward error (how far from the actual solution are we?) and the backward error (what problem have we actually solved?) and how we'd like the backward error to be close to the unit roundoff, u.

For matrix functions, we also mentioned the idea of using identities such as sin2A + cos2A = I to test algorithms. In practice, rather than I, we might find that we obtain a matrix R close to I, perhaps with ||R-I|| ≈ 10-13. What does this tell us about how the algorithms for sin A and cos A are performing? In particular, does it tell us anything about the backward errors? We've just written a paper which aims to answer these questions. This work is an output of NAG's Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Manchester, so we thought we'd blog about it here.

Let's consider the identity exp(log A) - A = 0. Suppose that when we evaluate the left-hand side in floating point arithmetic we get a nonzero residual R rather than 0. We'll assume that this residual is  caused by some backward errors E1 and E2 so that exp(log(A + E1) + E2) = R. We'd like to investigate how big R can be when E1 and E2 are small, so we expand the left-hand side in a Taylor series to linear order. After a bit of algebra, the result is a linear operator relating R to E1 and E2R = L(E1E2). The operator is different for each identity considered, but it always involves the Fréchet derivatives of the matrix functions in the identity (the full gory details, including formulae for the linear operators associated with various identities, are in our paper).

We now have two options. The first option is to estimate the norm of the linear operator. This enables us to determine the maximum value of ||R|| consistent with backward errors of size u. The second option is to use the linear operator to explicitly estimate E1 and E2. This works just as well, but it is more expensive.

Our paper contains several examples demonstrating our approach in practice, so we'll just pick one here, involving the matrix exponential. The 10 x 10 Forsythe matrix is

where we set the parameter u =  2-53 ≈ 10-16 (the unit roundoff). It's known that the Schur-Parlett general-purpose matrix function algorithm struggles with this matrix, whereas algorithms based on scaling and squaring have no such problems. Does our approach reflect this behaviour? Using the identity ee-A = I, the maximum normwise residual consistent with backward stability is found to be 7.1 x 10-15. The Schur-Parlett approach gives a normwise residual of 7.7 x 10-11, but the scaling and squaring algorithm gives a residual of 2.2 x 10-15. Consistent with this, the backward error estimates are  2.5 x 10-11 and 4.5 x 10-16 respectively. So our approach has correctly identified the preferred algorithm.

There are some subleties which we haven't mentioned (for example certain matrices and identities can produce misleading cancellation effects) but we now have a useful method for testing matrix function algorithms when high-precision arithmetic isn't available. The relevant routines for computing matrix functions and Fréchet derivatives are available in chapter F01 of the NAG Library.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software

In honour of the outstanding contributions of James Hardy Wilkinson to the field of numerical software, Argonne National Laboratory, the National Physical Laboratory, and the Numerical Algorithms Group award the Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software (US $3000).

The 2015 prize will be awarded at the International Conference in Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) in Beijing, China, August 2015. Entries must be received by July 1, 2014. Additional details on the Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software and the official rules can
be found at the URL:

Submissions can be sent by email to, contact this address for further information.

Previous prizes have also been awarded at ICIAM:

1991 - Linda Petzold for DASSL
1995 - Chris Bischof and Alan Carle for ADIFOR 2.0
1999 - Matteo Frigo and Steven Johnson for FFTW
2003 - Jonathan Shewchuk  for Triangle
2007 - Wolfgang Bangerth, Ralf Hartmann and Guido Kanschat for deal.II
2011 - Andreas Waechter and Carl D. Laird for Ipopt

Mike Dewar, Maurice Cox, Jorge Moré
Board of Trustees

Thursday, 6 February 2014

C++ wrappers for the NAG C Library


Occasionally, we receive requests to make the NAG C Library easier to call from C++. In the past, we found it difficult to build something that would work across all of the code our C++ users write. With the advent of the C++11 standard, many of the key features of the widely used Boost library have been incorporated into the STL, and finally provide a standardized way to address many of the difficulties we've encountered (the code we describe here works with Visual Studios 2010 and later, as well as several different versions of the Intel compiler and gcc).

We have created example wrappers that can serve as templates for creating C++ wrappers around NAG functions. Specifically, the examples now allow the user to:

1) Pass function pointers, functors, class member functions and lamda functions as callbacks to the NAG library.
2) Use raw pointers, smart pointers, STL containers or boost containers to store data and pass these to the NAG library.

 A note: these are NOT a C++ interface, but merely wrappers around the C Library.

Inside the Wrappers

Let's take a look at the protoype for one function. Here is the new signature for a NAG minimization routine:

void e04abcpp(const std::function<void(double,double*,NagComm*)> &callback, double e1, double e2, double *a, double *b, Integer max_fun, double *x, double *f, NagComm *user, NagError *error);

There are two differences from the NAG C routine; the callback function and the NagComm class (which we will discuss in a bit). Using the above signature, the NAG Library can be called via a function, a pointer to a function, a function object with a common interface, or a class member function. For example, the user could have the following NAG calls:

e04abcpp(MyFunctor(), e1, e2, &a, &b, max_fun, &x, &f, &comm, NULL);
e04abcpp([&](double x,double*fc,NagComm*comm) {
            return myclass.myFunc(x,fc,comm);
        }, e1, e2, &a, &b, max_fun, &x, &f, &comm, NULL);

Here, the MyFunctor and myclass.myFunc are the callbacks that return values of our objective function. In order to pass these to the C Library, we need a structure to evaluate and store them. The natural way to do this is to extend the NAG Communication class. Since we dont want a new NAG Comm class affecting the underlying Library, we create the first member to be the old comm structure (a pointer to a structure can be treated as as a pointer to the first member of the structure). We can then place our functional and new callback inside this structure:

class NagComm  // New Comm Class
    Nag_Comm comm;   // Old Comm Class
    friend void e04abcpp(const std::function<void(double,double*,NagComm*)> &callback, double e1, double e2, double *a, double *b, Integer max_fun, double *x, double *f, NagComm *user, NagError *error);

    void * puser;
    // A pointer to the C++11 std::function object
    const std::function<void(double,double*,NagComm*)> * callbackCPP11;

    static void NAG_CALL e04abDelegateCPP11(double xc, double *fc, Nag_Comm *comm) {
        // Safe cast since access to this routine is controlled
        NagComm * user = (NagComm*)comm;
        // Call the function polymorphically
        (* (user->callbackCPP11) )(xc, fc, user);

    NagComm() {
        puser = NULL;
        callbackCPP11 = NULL;

Once we have the new Comm class, we can make the cpp wrapper function:

void e04abcpp(const std::function<void(double,double*,NagComm*)> &callback, double e1, double e2, double *a, double *b, Integer max_fun, double *x, double *f, NagComm *user, NagError *error);
    // This is the only place where NagUser::callbackCPP11 is assigned
    user->callbackCPP11 = &callback;
    e04abc(NagComm::e04abDelegateCPP11, e1, e2, a, b, max_fun, x, f, (Nag_Comm*)user, error);

Smart Pointers/Containers

Want to pass different sets of pointers and containers into NAG routines? These are easily handled as well, for example in the follow wrapper to g01amc:

template<typename RV, typename Q, typename QV>
void g01amcpp(Integer n, RV && rv, Integer nq, Q && q, QV && qv, NagError *error)

Users can call the function using STL containers, boost types or smart pointers:

double rv[n]={.5, .729, .861, .44, .791, .001, .062, .912, .27, .141, .32, .133, .654,
     .285, .553, .438, .316, .696, .718, .293, .704, .029};
std::vector<double> q={0.0, .25, .73, .9, 1.0};
std::unique_ptr<double[]> qv(new double[nq]);
g01amcpp(n, rv, nq, q, qv, NULL);  

The g01amcpp wrapper is defined as follows:

template<typename RV, typename Q, typename QV>
void g01amcpp(Integer n, RV && rv, Integer nq, Q && q, QV && qv, NagError *error)
    // Get primitive pointers from input types.     
    double * p_rv = nagprivate::getPtr(rv);
    const double * p_q = nagprivate::getPtr(q);
    double * p_qv = nagprivate::getPtr(qv);

    g01amc(n, p_rv, nq, p_q, p_qv, error);

A different template parameter for each array argument means different container/smart pointer classes can be used for each argument. Inside the wrapper the function nagprivate::getPtr is called to return the address of the first element in each array. This function uses the auto/decltype feature which has a new meaning in C++11:

namespace nagprivate {
template<typename T> auto getPtr(T & p) -> decltype( &p[0] )
         return &(p[0]);

Note: the wrapper above assumes that the pointer/container classes implement operator[] and use contiguous arrays for internal storage. The wrapper will most likely not work for things such as linked lists.

Code Availability

We have created some example templates and more will available over time so key an eye on the NAG and C website and the bottom of this blog for updates. The examples are tested and work with VS10, g++ 4.7, and several versions of the Intel compilers. The wrappers are available in source form and can be compiled at the command line by:

$ cl -EHsc /MT -I"C:\Program Files\NAG\CL23\clw6i23dal"\include e04ab.cpp /link /LIBPATH:"C:\Program Files\NAG\CL23\clw6i23dal"\lib "C:\Program Files\NAG\CL23\clw6i23dal"\lib\nagc_nag_MT.lib user32.lib

 $ g++ -std=c++11 e04ab.cpp -I/opt/NAG/cll6a23dgl/include/ /opt/NAG/cll6a23dgl/lib/libnagc_nag.a -lpthread -lm -o e04ab.exe


We would be interested in hearing feedback from users. You can leave a comment below or email with the subject 'NAG and C++ wrappers'.

March 14 Update

We now have 14 examples including optimization, matrix functions, nearest correlation matrices, and quantile analysis that are available in the above links.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Out and about this week – The London Thalesians Seminar

NAG’s Brian Spector gave a great talk to a packed audience of finance professionals in London this week. The Thalesians describe themselves as a “think tank of dedicated professionals with an interest in quantitative finance, economics, mathematics, physics and computer science”. Brian was delighted to present "Implied Volatility using Python's Pandas Library" at their recent London Seminar on Wednesday 15 January 2014.

Brian Spector presenting "Implied Volatility using Python's Pandas Library at the recent London Thalesians Seminar

You can learn more about the subject of Brian’s talk in one of his NAG and Python blogs below:

Additional NAG and Python information features on our website including how you can download the NAG Python Bindings that will enable use of the NAG C Library from Python.
You can follow The Thalesians on Twitter @thalesians and NAG @NAGTalk.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Using the NAG Compiler with the NAG Fortran Library (Mark 24) on Windows

Blog written by David Sayers, NAG Principal Technical Consultant 


The NAG Fortran Compiler is an excellent compiler for checking and running your Fortran code. We use it extensively here at NAG to ensure that our code for the library complies with the current Fortran standards.

Personally whenever I have a user problem report that I can’t resolve by inspection my first instinct is to request run the users code with the Compiler. Frequently this identifies the error immediately.

As I am a Windows user, I am able to make use of the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the compiler that is provided to our Windows users. We call this IDE ‘NAG Fortran Builder’. One of the nice features of this IDE is its ease of use with the prevailing NAG libraries. To do this the user normally specifies a ‘NAG Library Project’ at creation time; thereafter the relevant settings are made to the compiler, so that either the Windows 64 bit or Windows 32-bit DLLs are used. 

At points in the NAG cycle a situation arises where the latest Fortran Builder is released. It automatically picks up the then current NAG libraries. Information about these libraries is embedded within Fortran Builder. This information includes documentation, interface blocks and example program information, all of which is mark-dependent. Subsequently a new NAG Library is released and so our Windows users would want to use the latest library from Fortran Builder. Some guidance is given on this within the relevant Users’ Note. This note attempts to gather together and expand on this information.

New Fortran Builder Projects

Fortran Builder may be set to work in 64-bit or 32-bit mode and to link to the corresponding NAG Fortran libraries. Normally we expect these to be FLW6I24DCL or FLDLL244ML respectively and the rest of this note is written with these specific implementations in mind.

To use a Mark 24 Library with Fortran Builder 5.3.1 using FLW6I24DCL :

a) Open a Console Application (not a NAG Library Application)
b) Go to Project Settings via the Project menu
c) Click the Directories tab, then click the Include tab
d) Add the include directory install dir\nag_interface_blocks_nagfor (where install dir should be replaced with the full path to the NAG Library installation directory on your machine. Note that you should not put any quotation marks around the directory name even though it may include spaces)
e) Exit from the Directories tab, then click the Link tab
f) Add a link library, for example install dir\bin\FLW6I24DC_nag.dll (note that you must link to the DLL itself, not the associated import library)

g) Build the project and run your program in the usual way 

{If you have a 64 bit integer version of the Library FLW6I24DDL then the –i8 option must be set under the Fortran Compiler / Additional Options tab also }

To use a Mark 24 Library with Fortran Builder 5.3.1 using FLDLL244ML :

a) Open a Console Application (not a NAG Library Application)
b) Go to Project Settings via the Project menu
c) Click the Directories tab, then click the Include tab
d) Add the include directory install dir\nag_interface_blocks_nagfor (note that you should not put any quotation marks around the directory name even though it may include spaces)
e) Exit from the Directories tab, then click the Link tab
f) Add a link library, for example install dir\lib\FLDLL244M_mkl.lib
g) Click the Basic Settings tab, and tick the DLL Compatibility check box - this turns on the -compatible flag to ensure that the compiler uses the same stdcall calling convention used to build the library. (This is a step not required in 64-bit mode where DLLs are already compatible.)
h) Build the project and run your program in the usual way 

In both cases, if you build your project in Debug mode (the default), it is not possible to use the Undefined variables option which is accessible on the Fortran Compiler / Runtime Check tab of Project Settings. This is because the NAG Library was not compiled with this option.

Also in both cases, should you want to link to the NAG Library in all future Console Application projects tick the Set as Default option.

Please note that if you had decided to set these new library settings as defaults and you subsequently form a new ‘NAG_Library Application’ project by mistake then numerous warning messages will be generated on compilation. This is because of incompatibilities with the interface blocks. You may recover from this by unticking the ‘Use the NAG Fortran Library’ box under Project Settings/Basic Settings. If Fortran Builder is unable to find a supported NAG Library then it won’t let you create a NAG Library Application project.

Existing Fortran Builder Projects

If a Fortran Builder project already exists and has linked to the NAG Library then the chances are that it will be a ‘NAG Library Application’ project. If you still have the Mark 23 libraries on your system then these are the libraries that will be accessed and used.

You may however wish to use the latest, Mark 24, Library, either to get an updated version of the relevant routines or to exploit the new functionality on offer with Mark 24. Under these circumstances the project needs to be changed.

Unfortunately this entails a number of steps for each project that you need to convert:

  • unticking the ‘Use the NAG Fortran Library’ box under Project Settings/Basic Settings.
  • Now repeat steps b) to g) or b) to h) for the relevant library as described above.
An alternative, if you have already set up the default console application to incorporate NAG Mark 24, is to simply re-create the project as a Console Application.

Updating the NAG Help file available from Fortran Builder

You will require administrator privileges to do this, and you may well decide not to tamper in this manner, but it is possible to access the Mark 24 Help file directly from Fortran Builder. The process involves copying the help file provided with your library, nagdoc_fl24.chm into the bin directory of Fortran Builder. This location is typically C:\Program Files (x86)\NAG\EFBuilder 5.3.1\bin . We suggest you rename the existing help file nagdoc_fl23.chm to xnagdoc_fl23.chm. Now copy nagdoc_fl24.chm from the library into the .\bin directory and trick Fortran Builder by renaming nagdoc_fl24.chm to nagdoc_fl23.chm.

This works, but unless you feel strongly that this is what you need, it is not a process we recommend. The help file can always be accessed from the appropriate library directory rather than from Fortran Builder.

Updating the example program templates

Any tampering with the Fortran Builder files to access the Mark 24 example templates is even less recommended than the procedure for the documentation outline above.  The relevant directories are below C:\Program Files (x86)\NAG\EFBuilder 5.3.1\bin\resource\fldll234m.

It is our view that the user should note that each of the libraries is provided with example programs, data and results and we suggest that the user ought to simply copy the ones that they want into their project source directory. (It may seem obvious, but copying the files means that the original will still be available for use another time.)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

NAG at SC13

A short summary of news from or about NAG at SC13.

Quick fact: NAG is one of very few organizations that have been at every SC since the series started.

Attacking the HPC skills need: NAG Supercomputing Support Service passes milestone of 2000 course attendees
NAG announces the latest milestone in addressing the skills needs of the scientific computing community with the skills they require to effectively exploit HPC systems - over 2000 attendees have now benefitted from NAG's highly rated HPC training courses under the UK's national Computational Support and Engineering (CSE) Support Service. Read full press release ...

Tutorial on HPC procurement: Room was packed!

New Services to underpin and innovate your numerical computing revealed by NAG
NAG revealed new services to enable users of numerical computing to benefit from NAG's 4 decades of experience and expertise in numerical solutions. NAG has delivered proven solutions in this area through its trusted Numerical Libraries for over 4 decades. In response to customer interest, NAG is now launching its Numerical Services to deliver the expertise and experience behind these highly reputed Libraries directly to developers and users of numerical computing applications - whether they use NAG products or not. This follows the success of NAG's HPC Services business and enables customer access to the full range of NAG experts - numerical analysts, computer scientists, mathematicians, algorithm developers, software engineers, and more. Read full press release ...

NAG staff member on Scientific Computing Sound Byte: Nechelle Dismer on Seeing Two Sides of the Conference

More HPC Innovation Awards for NAG at SC13
NAG has been awarded another two HPC Innovation Excellence Awards at SC13, Denver. The awards recognised NAG's HPC software innovations on two projects, CABARET and INCOMPACT 3D, undertaken by NAG's Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Service, part of the UK's HECToR national supercomputing service. These two projects recognised by the HPC Innovation Awards at the world's largest supercomputing conference are among over 50 similarly successful application performance improvement projects within NAG's HECToR CSE Service. NAG is delighted to have its world class HPC Software Services acknowledged in this way for the second time. Read full press release ...

HPC Quiz: How Do Your SC13 Credentials Stack Up? (by @hpcnotes for HPC Wire)

NAG to broaden 64-bit ARMv8-A ecosystem
NAG announces a new technical collaboration with ARM, the world's leading semiconductor IP supplier. NAG's highly skilled team of HPC experts, numerical analysts and computer scientists will ensure the algorithms in the NAG Numerical Library and the facilities of the NAG FORTRAN Compiler are available for use on ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture-based platforms. By working with NAG, ARM is greatly enhancing the strong HPC infrastructure for ARMv8-A architecture through the enablement of numerical computation at its release. Read full press release ...

And looking to the future: SC14 will be in New Orleans, SC15 in Austin and SC16 in Salt Lake City. See you there!