The SPEC OMP2001 'runspec' command and its options

Last updated: 17 Feb 2001 3pm wj
(To check for possible updates to this document, please see )


  1. Introduction
    1. Who Needs runspec?
    2. About Config Files
    3. About Defaults
    4. About Disk Usage and Support for Multiple Users
  2. Before Using runspec
  3. Using runspec
    1. Simplest usage
      1. Reportable run
      2. Running selected benchmarks
      3. Output files
    2. Syntax
    3. Actions
    4. Commonly used options
    5. Less commonly used options
  4. Quick reference

I. Introduction

A. Who Needs runspec?

Everyone who uses SPEC OMP2001 needs runspec. It is the primary tool in the suite. It is used to build the benchmarks, run them, and report on their results. All users of OMP2001 should read this document.

B. About Config Files

In order to use runspec, you need a "config file", which contains detailed instructions about how to build and run the benchmarks. You may not have to learn much about config files in order to get started. Typically, you start off using a config file that someone else has previously written.

Where can you find such a config file? There are 2 primary sources:

  1. Look in directory $SPEC/config (Unix) or %SPEC%\config (NT). You may find that there is a already a config file there with a name that indicates that it is appropriate for your system. You may even find that "default.cfg" already contains settings that would be a good starting place for your system.
  2. Look at the SPEC web site ( ) for a OMP2001 result submission that used your system, or a system similar to yours. You can download the config file from that submission.

Alternatively, you can write your own, using the instructions in

$SPEC/docs/config.html (Unix) or %SPEC%\docs.nt\config.html (NT)

and the examples in

$SPEC/docs/*.cfg (Unix) or %SPEC%\docs.nt\*.cfg (NT).
C. About Defaults

The SPEC tools have followed two design principles regarding defaults:

  1. There should always be a default for everything
  2. It should be easy to change the defaults

This means (the good news) that something sensible will usually happen, even when you aren't explicit about what you want. But it also means (the bad news) that if something unexpected happens, you may have to look in several places in order to figure out why it behaves differently than you expect.

The order of precedence for settings is:

Highest precedence: runspec command
config file
the tools as shipped by SPEC

Therefore, when this document tells you that something is the default, bear in mind that your config file may have changed that setting. If in doubt, check the config file.

D. About Disk Usage and Support for Multiple Users

The structure of the OMP2001 directory tree is:

      $SPEC or %SPEC% - the root directory
            OMPM2001  - medium OpenMP benchmarks
            OMPL2001  - large OpenMP benchmarks
         bin          - tools to run and report on the suite
         config       - config files
         result       - log files and reports
         tools        - sources for the OMP2001 tools

Within each of the individual benchmarks, the structure is:

      nnn.benchmark - root for this benchmark
         Spec       - SPEC metadata about the benchmark
           all      - data used by all runs (if needed by the benchmark)
           ref      - the real data set, required for all result reporting
           test     - data for a simple test that an executable is functional
           train    - data for feedback-directed optimization
         exe        - compiled versions of the benchmark
         run        - all builds and runs take place here
         src        - the sources for the benchmark

When you find yourself wondering "Where did all my disk space go?", the answer is "The run directories." All build and run activity takes place in numbered run directories - e.g.


To get your disk space back, see the documentation of the various cleaning options, below; or issue a command such as the following (on Unix systems; NT users can select the files with Explorer):

rm -Rf $SPEC/benchspec/C*/*/run

Because all the build and run activity takes place in separately created directories, the tools are able to provide limited support for multiple users of the same directory tree:

The support for multiple users is subject to some limitations:

  1. The tree must be writable by each of the users, which means that the users have to trust each other not to modify or delete each others' files.
  2. Directories such as config, result, and exe are not segregated by user, so you can only have one version of (for example) config/phil.cfg or benchspec/OMPM2001/310.wupwise_m/exe/wupwise_m_base.les
  3. Support for multiple users has received only limited testing during the development of OMP2001, and may have bugs. If you encounter a problem, please report it to SPEC.

If these limitations cause concern, you should give each user their own copy of the entire SPEC OMP2001 directory tree, and use your operating system's file protection scheme.

II. Before Using runspec

Before using runspec, you need to:

  1. Successfully install OMP2001. Runspec uses perl version 5.005_03, which is installed as 'specperl' when you install OMP2001. If your CD is mounted as /cdrom under Unix, or as E: on NT, you would type:
    more /cdrom/docs/install_guide_unix.html or
    notepad E:\docs.nt\install_guide_nt.html
  2. Have a config file. See "About Config Files", above.
  3. Set your path appropriately:

    3.a. If you are using a Unix system:
    Change your current directory to the top-level SPEC directory and

               !!!!!!!!!!!!  START A BOURNE-COMPATIBLE SHELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!
               !             (if you are not already in one)             !
               !                                                         !
               !  That is, you need to use a command interpreter that    !
               !  supports the syntax used by shrc, which tries to be    !
               !  highly portable by avoiding proprietary or uncommon    !
               !  shell features.  Many shells -- such as ash, bash,     !
               !  ksh, and zsh -- provide some degree of compatibility   !
               !  with the Bourne shell.   The C shell (csh) definitely  !
               !  is NOT compatible with Bourne shell syntax.  If you    !
               !  are in doubt, or if you see unexpected error messages  !
               !  from shrc, you can usually start a Bourne shell by     !
               !  typing 'sh'.                                           !

    Then, source the file shrc. If you prefer some other shell, you can probably spawn it after sourcing shrc; when you do so, please be sure that your new shell does not clear the path variables set up by shrc!

    For example:

    % cd /usr/rahul/omp2001
                   % sh
                   $ . ./shrc            <- that's dot-space-dot-slash-shrc
                   $ csh

    3.b. If you are using a Windows/NT system:

    Read the comments to the file


    and make the appropriate edits for your compiler paths. Caution: you may find that the lines are not correctly formatted (the text appears to be all run together) when you edit this file. If so, see the section "Using Text Files on NT" in install_guide_nt.html

    Then set the path using your edited shrc.bat, for example:

    F:\bodo\omp2001> shrc

      | WARNING: Under both Unix and NT, you will typically want to make  |
      | sure that the environment variable SPEC is NOT defined when you   |
      | invoke shrc.  If it is already defined (e.g. from a run of some   |
      | other SPEC benchmark suite), you should undefine it first, e.g.   |
      | by logging out and logging in, or by using 'unset'.               |
  4. Make sure that you have enough disk space. Typically, you will want to have at least 8 GB free disk space at the start of a run. Please see "About Disk Usage and Support for Multiple Users", above.

III. Using runspec

A. Simplest usage
  1. Reportable run

    Runspec is easiest to use when:

    • Some kind person has already compiled the benchmarks.
    • That kind person provides both the compiled images and their corresponding config file (see "About Config Files" in the Introduction to this document).
    • The config file does not change the defaults in surprising or esoteric ways (see "About Defaults" in the Introduction).

    In this lucky circumstance, all that needs to be done is to name the config file, select which benchmark suite is to be run: "medium" for OMPM2001 or "large" for OMPL2001, and say '--reportable' if one wants to attempt a full run that complies with the SPEC OMP2001 run rules.

    For example, suppose that Wilfried has given Ryan a config file with some new integer optimizations for a Unix system. Ryan could say:

     % cd /usr/ryan/omp2001
           % sh
           $ . ./shrc
           $ runspec --config wilfried_new.cfg --reportable medium

    As a another example, suppose that Reinhold has given Kaivalya an NT config file with changes from 12 August, and Kaivalya wants to run the floating point suite. He might say something like this:

      F:\kaivalya\omp2001> shrc
           F:\kaivalya\omp2001" runspec --config reinhold_aug12a --reportable large
  2. Running selected benchmarks

    If you want to run a subset of the benchmarks, rather than running the whole suite, you can name them. Since a reportable run uses an entire suite, you'll need to turn off reportable:

    % runspec --config arrian_dec25j.cfg --noreportable 312.swim_m 330.art_m
  3. Output files

    Look for the output of your runspec command in the directory $SPEC/result (Unix) or %SPEC%\result (NT). There, you will find log files and result files. More information about log files can be found in config.html.

    The format of the result files depends on what was selected in your config file, but will typically include at least *.asc for ASCII text, and will always include .raw, for raw (unformatted) run data. More information about result formats can be found below, under --output_format. Note that you can always re-generate the output, using the --rawformat option, also documented below.

If simple commands such as the above don't seem to do what you like, then you'll have to keep reading this document.

B. Syntax

The syntax for the runspec command is:

runspec [options] [list of benchmarks to run]

Options are described in the following sections. There, you you will notice that many options have both long and short names. The long names are invoked using two dashes, and the short names use only a single dash. For long names that take a parameter, you can optionally use an equals sign. Long names can also be abbreviated, provided that you still enter enough letters for uniqueness. For example, the following commands all do the same thing:

runspec --config=dianne_july25a --debug=99 medium
runspec --config dianne_july25a --debug 99 medium
runspec --conf dianne_july25a --deb 99 medium
runspec -c dianne_july25a -v 99 medium

The list of benchmarks to run can be either an entire suite ("int" or "medium") or one or more individual benchmarks. Individual benchmarks can be named, numbered, or both; and they can be abbreviated, as long as you enter enough characters for uniqueness. For example, each of the following commands does the same thing:

runspec -c jason_july09d --noreportable 314.mgrid_m 310.wupwise_m
runspec -c jason_july09d --noreportable 314 310
runspec -c jason_july09d --noreportable mgrid_m wupwise_m

It is also possible to exclude a benchmark, using a hat (^, also known as carat, typically found as shift-6). For example, suppose your system lacks a C++ compiler, and you therefore cannot run the benchmark 252.eon. You could run all of the integer benchmarks except eon by entering a command such as this one:

runspec --noreportable -c kathy_sep14c large ^art_m

Note that if hat has significance to your shell, you may need to protect it from interpretation by the shell, for example by putting it in single quotes. On NT, you will need to use both a hat and two quotes for each benchmark you want to exclude, like this:

E:\omp2001" runspec --noreportable -c debbie_apr26a large "^wupwise_m" "^art_m"
C. Actions

Every time runspec is used, it normally takes some kind of action for the set of benchmarks specified at the end of the command line (or defaulted from the config file). The default action is "validate", which means that the benchmarks will be built if necessary, the run directories will be setup, the benchmarks will be run, and reports will be generated.

If you want to force a different action, then you can enter one of the following runspec options:

--action build Compile the benchmarks. More information about compiling may be found in config.html, including information about additional files that are output during a build.
--action run Run the benchmarks but do not bother to verify that they got the correct answers. This option is not normally useful, but can be selected if, for example, you are generating a performance trace and wish to avoid tracing some of the tools overhead.
--action setup Setup the run directories. Copy executables and data to work directories.
--action validate Build (if needed), run, and generate reports

In addition, the following cleanup actions are available (in order by level of vigor):

--action clean Empty all run and build directories for the specified benchmark set. For example, if user Jeff enters the command: runspec --action clean --config may12a medium the tools would remove run directories for the floating point benchmarks which are tagged as belonging to Jeff and which contain benchmarks generated by config file may12a.cfg.
--action trash Same as clean, but do it for all users of this SPEC directory tree.
--action realclean A synonym for --action trash
--action clobber Clean + remove all executables of the current type
--action nuke Remove everybody's run and build directories and all executables

Alternative cleaning method:

If you prefer, you can clean disk space by entering commands such as the following (on Unix systems):

rm -Rf $SPEC/benchspec/C*/*/run
rm -Rf $SPEC/benchspec/C*/*/exe

NT users can achieve a similar effect using Windows NT Explorer. Notice that the above commands not only empty the contents of the run and exe directories; they also delete the directories themselves. That's fine; the tools will re-create the run and exe directories if they are needed again later on.

D. Commonly used options

Most users of runspec will want to become familiar with the following options.

--action <action>
Synonym: -a <action>
Default: validate
Meaning: See "Actions", above
--config <name>
Synonym: -c <name>
Default: default.cfg
Meaning: Use config file config/<name>.cfg. If not specified, the tools will try config/default.cfg
Synonyms: -h, -?
Default: Help text is not displayed.
Meaning: Print helpful text
Synonyms: -I, --ignoreerror
Default: Stop on first error.
Meaning: Continue running even if errors occur. Note that a run with --ignore_errors cannot be submitted to SPEC.
--iterations <number>
Synonym: -n <number>
Default: 2
Meaning: How many times to run each benchmark. For a reportable run, must be an odd number >= 2.
--output_format <format>
Synonym: -o <format>
Default: all available formats
Meaning: Desired report format, one or more of all - all of the following asc - ASCII text config - config file used for this run html - web page pdf - Portable Document Format ps - Postscript If more than one option is used, separate them by commas.
--rawformat <rawfiles>
Synonym: -R <rawfile>
Default: Do not use rawformat mode.
Meaning: Take an existing run and just generate the reports. This option is useful if (for example) you are just doing ASCII output during most of your runs, but now you would like to create additional reports for one or more especially interesting runs. To create the html and postscript files for experiment number 324, you could say: runspec --rawformat --output_format html,ps \ result/OMPM2001.324.raw You can achieve the same effect by using rawformat: rawformat --output_format html,ps result/OMPM2001.324.raw For more information about rawformat, please see $SPEC/docs/utility.html (Unix) or %SPEC%\docs.nt\utility.html (NT)
Synonym: -D
Default: Do not rebuild unless binary is missing or does not match the config file.
Meaning: Delete existing binaries and recompile. Use this if, for example, you have installed a new version of your compiler and want to force a rebuild of the benchmarks.
Synonyms: -s, --strict, --noloose
Default: noreportable
Meaning: Wherever it is practical to do so in an automated fashion, enforce the OMP2001 run rules, so as to produce a result which is suitable for public reporting and/or submission to SPEC. Note that this option forces various other options, such as iterations >=2.
Synonyms: -l, --nostrict, --loose
Default: noreportable
Meaning: Unset 'reportable'. For example, suppose that you have a golden config file that is used for reportable runs, and which sets the config file option 'reportable'. But you aren't ready to do a reportable run, because you first want to ensure that the system under test is adequately configured to run the benchmark 252.eon. Since the config file sets the option 'reportable', the following command will result in an error message: runspec --config golden --iterations 1 art_m as the SPEC tools will inform you that you cannot change the number of iterations on a reportable run. But the following command will override the config file and just run eon once: runspec --config golden --iterations 1 --noreportable art_m
--tune <tuning>
Synonyms: --tuning <tuning>, -T <tuning>
Default: base
Meaning: Selects tuning to use: base, peak, or all. For a reportable run, must be either "base" or "all". Reportable runs always run base first, then peak.
E. Less commonly used options
Synonym: -d
Default: Do not delete working directories.
Meaning: Delete run directories and re-populate. Use this if you suspect that the run directories may have been corrupted, for example due to a system crash during setup of an earlier run. You might also use this if you just wish to ensure clean run directories, but note that the tools will automatically provide what they deem to be a sufficient level of cleaning.
--extension <name>
Synonyms: --ext <name>, -e <name>
Default: "none"
Meaning: Extension to build or run. Normally used only if the config file has been written to handle more than one extension. The config file author should tell you what extensions to enter under which circumstances.
--machine <name>
Synonym: --mach <name>, -m <name>
Default: none
Meaning: The machine to build for or to run. Normally used only if the config file has been written to handle more than one machine type. The config file author should tell you what machines are supported by the config file.
Synonym: -C
Default: clobber
Meaning: Do not delete existing object files before attempting to build. This option should only be used for troubleshooting a problematic compile. It is against the run rules to use it when building binaries for an actual submission. For a better way of doing this, see the information about specmake in $SPEC/docs/utility.html (Unix) or %SPEC%\docs.nt\utility.html (NT)
Synonyms: none
Default: --setprocgroup
Meaning: Attempt to create all processes in a single group. Improves the chances that ^C will get the whole run, not just one of the children.
Synonyms: none
Default: --setprocgroup
Meaning: Do not attempt to create all processes in a single group.
--size <size>
Synonyms: -i <size>, --input <size>
Default: ref
Meaning: Selects size of input data to run: test, train, or ref. Reportable runs always use ref. You might choose to use a smaller data size while debugging a set of compilation options.
Synonyms: none
Default: --table
Meaning: Produce a detailed table of all runs in the ASCII report.
Synonyms: none
Default: --table
Meaning: Do not produce a detailed table in the ASCII report.
Synonym: -f
Default: buffer
Meaning: Do not buffer output. For SPEC CPU95, there were occasional complaints about redundant output when a child process would flush its buffer. If similar problems occur for OMP2001, try --unbuffer.
--verbose <n>
Synonyms: --debug <n>, -v <n>
Default: 5
Meaning: Set verbosity level to a level between 1 and 99. For more information, see config.html
Synonym: -V
Default: Print short version information.
Meaning: Print detailed version information for the SPEC CPU tool suite.

IV. Quick reference

-a Same as --action
--action ACTION Do: build clean clobber nuke run setup trash or validate
-C Same as --make_no_clobber
-c Same as --config
--config FILE Set config file for runspec to use
-D Same as --rebuild
-d Same as --deletework
--debug Same as --verbose
--deletework Force work directories to be rebuilt
-e Same as --extension
--ext Same as --extension
--extension EXT Set the extension
-f Same as --unbuffer
-h Same as --help
--help Print usage message
-I Same as --ignore_errors
-i Same as --size
--ignore_errors Continue with benchmark runs even if some fail
--ignoreerror Same as --ignore_errors
--input Same as --size
--iterations N Run each benchmark N times
-l Same as --noreportable
--loose Same as --noreportable
--noloose Same as --reportable
-m Same as --machine
--mach Same as --machine
-machine NAME Set the machine type
--make_no_clobber Do not delete existing object files before building.
-n Same as --iterations
-o Same as --output_format
--output_format FORMAT Generate report, one or more of: asc html pdf ps config
-R Same as --rawformat
--rawformat FILE Format raw file
--rebuild Force a rebuild of binaries
--reportable Produce a reportable result
--noreportable Do not produce a reportable result
-s Same as --reportable
--setprocgroup Attempt to create all processes in one process group.
--nosetprocgroup Don't attempt to set the process group
--size WORKLOAD Select data set, one of: test train ref
--strict Same as --reportable
--nostrict Same as --noreportable
-T Same as --tune
--table Include a detailed table of results in ASCII format
--notable Do not produce an ASCII table
--tune TUNE Set the tuning levels to one of: base peak all
--tuning Same as --tune
--unbuffer Turn output buffering off
--username Name of user to tag as owner for run directories
-v Same as --verbose
--verbose N Set verbosity level for messages to N
-V Same as --version
--version Output *lots* of version information
-? Synonym for --help