Estimating $\pi$ on the GPU

In this Jupyter notebook we show how to use the GPU seamlessly in a scripting mode with Alea GPU V3. We demonstrate the new highly efficient GPU primitives that will come with our next release 3.1 of Alea GPU, such as highly optimized parallel sort, scan, reduce, copy if, stream compactification, merge, join, etc. We use the parallel-for and parallel aggretation method to implement a Monte Carlo simulation algorithm, which approximates the value of $\pi$.


Monte Carlo simulation methods are computational algorithms which rely on repeated random sampling to estimate a results. Monte Carlo simulation can be used to calculate the value of $\pi$ as follows

$$ \dfrac{\text{area of unit circle}}{\text{area of } [-1,1]^2} = \dfrac{\pi}{4} = \dfrac{\text{hits in unit circle}}{\text{randomly generated points in } [-1,1]^2}. $$

More precisely if $A \subset \mathbb{R}^n$, $f : A \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ is an integrable function and $x^{(i)} \in A$, $i=1, \ldots, n$ are uniformly distributed points then

$$ \intA f(x) dx \approx \frac{\mathrm{vol}(A)}{n} \sum{i=1}^n f(x^{(i)}).

To find the formula stated in the first equation apply the above equation with $A = [-1,1]^2$ and $f(x) = \mathbb{1}_{\{x_1^2 + x_2^2 \leq 1\}}$ the indicator function of the unit circle.

Let's Get Started!

Before you continue you should install the F# kernel for Jupyter.

We use Paket to get the newest version 3.1 beta NuGet packages of Alea GPU. You can run Alea GPU free on any CUDA capable GeForce or Quadro GPU. In case you want to run it on an enterprise GPU such as a Tesla K80 or the brand new NVIDIA P100 you need a license.

Unfortunately as of now (January 2017), it is not possible to run this notebook on Azure Notebooks with server side execution because the Azure Notebooks service does not yet provide GPU instances.

In [1]:
#load "Paket.fsx"
Paket.Version [ ("Alea", "3.0.3-beta2") ]
Paket.Package [ "NUnit" ]
In [2]:
#load "packages/Alea/Alea.fsx"
#r "packages/Alea/lib/net45/Alea.Parallel.dll"
#r "packages/NUnit/lib/net45/nunit.framework.dll"
In [3]:
#load "XPlot.Plotly.Paket.fsx"
#load "XPlot.Plotly.fsx"
open XPlot.Plotly