likwid-pin(1) pin a sequential or threaded application to dedicated processors


likwid-pin [-vhSpqi] [-V verbosity] [-c corelist] [-s skip_mask]


likwid-pin is a command line application to pin a sequential or multithreaded application to dedicated processors. It can be used as replacement for taskset. Opposite to taskset no affinity mask but single processors are specified. For multithreaded applications based on the pthread library the pthread_create library call is overloaded through LD_PRELOAD and each created thread is pinned to a dedicated processor as specified in core_list .

Per default every generated thread is pinned to the core in the order of calls to pthread_create it is possible to skip single threads.

The OpenMP implementations of GCC and ICC compilers are explicitly supported. Clang's OpenMP backend should also work as it is built on top of Intel's OpenMP runtime library. Others may also work likwid-pin sets the environment variable OMP_NUM_THREADS for you if not already present. It will set as many threads as present in the pin expression. Be aware that with pthreads the parent thread is always pinned. If you create for example 4 threads with pthread_create and do not use the parent process as worker you still have to provide num_threads+1 processor ids.

likwid-pin supports different numberings for pinning. See section CPU EXPRESSION for details.

For applications where first touch policy on NUMA systems cannot be employed likwid-pin can be used to turn on interleave memory placement. This can significantly speed up the performance of memory bound multithreaded codes. All NUMA nodes the user pinned threads to are used for interleaving.


prints a help message to standard output, then exits.
prints version information to standard output, then exits.
-V, --verbose <level>
verbose output during execution for debugging. 0 for only errors, 1 for informational output, 2 for detailed output and 3 for developer output
-c <cpu expression>
specify a numerical list of processors. The list may contain multiple items, separated by comma, and ranges. For example 0,3,9-11. Other format are available, see the CPU EXPRESSION section.
-s, --skip <mask>
Specify skip mask as HEX number. For each set bit the corresponding thread is skipped.
All ccNUMA memory domains belonging to the specified thread list will be cleaned before the run. Can solve file buffer cache problems on Linux.
prints the available thread domains for logical pinning
set NUMA memory policy to interleave involving all NUMA nodes involved in pinning
silent execution without output


The most intuitive CPU selection method is a comma-separated list of phyiscal CPU IDs. An example for this is 0,2 which schedules the threads on CPU cores 0 and 2. The physical numbering also allows the usage of ranges like 0-2 which results in the list 0,1,2.
The CPUs can be selected by their indices inside of an affinity domain. The affinity domain is optional and if not given, Likwid assumes the domain 'N' for the whole node. The format is L:<indexlist> for selecting the CPUs inside of domain 'N' or L:<domain>:<indexlist> for selecting the CPUs inside the given domain. Assuming an virtual affinity domain 'P' that contains the CPUs 0,4,1,5,2,6,3,7. After sorting it to have physical cores first we get: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7. The logical numbering L:P:0-2 results in the selection 0,1,2 from the physical cores first list.
The expression syntax enables the selection according to an selection function with variable input parameters. The format is either E:<affinity domain>:<numberOfThreads> to use the first <numberOfThreads> threads in affinity domain <affinity domain> or E:<affinity domain>:<numberOfThreads>:<chunksize>:<stride> to use <numberOfThreads> threads with <chunksize> threads selected in row while skipping <stride> threads in affinity domain <affinity domain>. Examples are E:N:4:1:2 for selecting the first four physical CPUs on a system with 2 SMT threads per core or E:P:4:2:4 for choosing the first two threads in affinity domain P, skipping 2 threads and selecting again two threads. The resulting CPU list for virtual affinity domain P is 0,4,2,6
The last format schedules the threads not only in a single affinity domain but distributed them evenly over all available affinity domains of the same kind. In contrast to the other formats, the selection is done using the physical cores first and then the SMT threads. The format is <affinity domain without number>:scatter like M:scatter to schedule the threads evenly in all available memory affinity domains. Assuming the two socket domains S0 = 0,4,1,5 and S1 = 2,6,3,7 the expression S:scatter results in the CPU list 0,2,1,3,4,6,5,7


For standard pthread application:
likwid-pin -c 0,2,4-6 ./myApp

The parent process is pinned to processor 0 which is likely to be thread 0 in ./myApp. Thread 1 is pinned to processor 2, thread 2 to processor 4, thread 3 to processor 5 and thread 4 to processor 6. If more threads are created than specified in the processor list, these threads are pinned to processor 0 as fallback.

For selection of CPUs inside of a CPUset only the logical numbering is allowed. Assuming CPUset 0,4,1,5:
likwid-pin -c L:1,3 ./myApp

This command pins ./myApp on CPU 4 and the thread started by ./myApp on CPU 5

A common use-case for the numbering by expression is pinning of an application on the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor with its 60 cores each having 4 SMT threads.
likwid-pin -c E:N:60:1:4 ./myApp

This command schedules one thread per physical CPU core for ./myApp.


Written by Thomas Roehl <[email protected]>.