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(c) Cleuton Sampaio 2019

CUDA no-stress programming

Programming CUDA using Go is a bit more complex than in other languages. Although there are some excellent packages, such as mumax, the documentation is poor, lacks examples and it’s difficult to use.

CUDA is for C, so the best alternative is to use Command cgo and invoke an external function with your Cuda Kernel. This is what I will do in this example, where I multiply two matrices using CUDA.

If you want to know more about CUDA programming, read the my article.


I created a Simple Kernel that has the Kernel function and a helper function to be called externally. Note that I used extern C because this is how cgo invokes functions:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <cuda.h>

__global__ void vecmul(float *A, float* B, float *C, int size)
    // Row and Column indexes: 
    int row = blockIdx.y*blockDim.y+threadIdx.y;
    int col = blockIdx.x*blockDim.x+threadIdx.x;

    // Are they bellow the maximum?
    if (col < size && row < size) {
       float result = 0;
       for(int ix=0;ix<size;ix++) {
          result += A[row*size+ix]*B[ix*size+col];
       C[row*size+col] = result;

extern "C" {

    void maxmul(float *A, float* B, float *C, int size) {

        int total = size*size;

        // Allocate device memory:
        float* gpu_A;
        float* gpu_B;
        float* gpu_C;
        int msize = total * sizeof(float);
        cudaMalloc((void**)&gpu_A, msize);
        cudaMalloc((void**)&gpu_B, msize);

        // Blocks & grids:
        dim3 blocks(size,size);
        dim3 grid(1,1);

        // Call the kernel:

        // Get the result Matrix:

        //Free device matrices


The vecmul() function is the kernel and the maxmul() function is the helper. Its function is to allocate memory in the GPU, copy the parameters, invoke the kernel, and copy the result. Values ​​are passed by reference.

Go code

Program maxmul.go invokes the helper function and displays the result:

package main

void maxmul(float *A, float* B, float *C, int size);
#cgo LDFLAGS: -L. -L./ -lmaxmul
import "C"

import "fmt"

func Maxmul(a []C.float, b []C.float, c []C.float, size int) {
	C.maxmul(&a[0], &b[0], &c[0], C.int(size))

func main() {
	//in := []C.float{1.23, 4.56}
    //C.test(&in[0]) // C 1.230000 4.560000
	a := []C.float{-1,2,4,0,5,3,6,2,1}
	b := []C.float{3,0,2,3,4,5,4,7,2}
	var c []C.float = make([]C.float, 9)

Before importing the C package, which allows to invoke external functions in pure C code (extern C), I pass the configuration of cgo, indicating the prototype of the function C , the path to lib and its name.

I had to create a wrapper function in the Go code to invoke the external function to make things easier. It simply passes the reference to the arrays (the address of the first position) and the array size (in this case 3x3 = 9). In CUDA we work with flat matrices.

I used the type C.float to create slices containing my arrays (transformed into vectors). Then I called the function. Note that I passed the size of each row (or column).


To compile the C code use the command:

nvcc --ptxas-options=-v --compiler-options '-fPIC' -o libmaxmul.so --shared maxmul.cu

You need to have CUDA and the Nvidia driver installed!

Then just run the Go code with the command:

[19 36 16 27 41 31 28 15 24]

You have to add LD_LIBRARY_PATH=${PWD}${LD_LIBRARY_PATH:+:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}} when putting library into location other than already defined in LD_LIBRARY_PATH. You might find more information about this environment variable here

And this is the result of matrix multiplication!