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Task #3252

Remove support for 32 bit architectures

Added by Eric Irrgang 7 months ago. Updated 4 months ago.

Status:
New
Priority:
Normal
Assignee:
-
Category:
build system
Target version:
-
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Description

From the GROMACS 2020 release notes: There are no current or planned large scale resources using 32bit architectures, and we have no ability to properly test and evaluate them.

History

#1 Updated by Eric Irrgang 7 months ago

  • Private changed from Yes to No

#2 Updated by Szilárd Páll 6 months ago

Eric Irrgang wrote:

From the GROMACS 2020 release notes: There are no current or planned large scale resources using 32bit architectures, and we have no ability to properly test and evaluate them.

That's actually false. We have Linux distributions that do regularly test. I think deprecation is warranted and possibly support for some arch can be moved from best-effort to minimal (e.g. i386), but removal of all 32-bit support is not something I am in favor of. Architectural diversity in terms of test coverage improves the real-world portability, so having Debian builds run tests on s390x or our CI on armel is beneficial for robustness of the code-base.

#3 Updated by Erik Lindahl 4 months ago

My first hunch was that it was overly aggressive, but realistically:

  • I can't imagine any new CPU architecture appearing that isn't 64 bits.
  • There isn't a single 32 bit architecture out there that's relevant (in the sense that it's actually used for GROMACS production work)

So, let's deprecate it in the sense that we don't actively support or test it in the CI, but since things like the size of integers or pointers are not specified in the C++ standard we should maintain good practice and check for those. That will likely make it reasonably straightforward to later fix any 32-bit failures if we want to.

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