Intel Xeon Phi (KNC) MPSS software and kernel modules for CentOS 7&8

The Intel Xeon Phi 0x100 (KNC) PCI-e accelerator card is/was a many-processor card to speed up calculations. The idea is similar to that of a GPGPU like NVidia or AMD, but based on many Intel cores stuffed into a single PCI-e card, together with a fair amount of RAM (up to 16 GB, depending on the model).

In order to access the card, you have to install and run the Intel MPSS software stack, which consists of a Linux kernel module (or Windows, but that is not applicable here), combined with a set of user-space applications.

Unfortunately, Intel dropped support for this Xeon Phi card somewhere in 2019, leaving users stranded with a software stack that supported (amongst others) RedHat Enterprise Linux 7 up to release 7.4 (kernel 3.10.0-693).
The latest version (as of October 4th 2019) of the MPSS software stack for the first generation Intel Xeon Phi (aka KNC) is 3.8.6. Unfortunately, this version of the mpss stack does not support the newer RHEL/CentOS 7 kernels nor does it support RHEL/CentOS 8 at all.

Even though Intel released version 3.8.5 well after RHEL 7.5 and 7.6 were released, and similarly, released version 3.8.6 after RHEL 7.7 was released, they state that this newer release only addresses critical customer issues and security hotfixes. Apparently, they find it important to address security issues in the MPSS stack and the KNC itself, but they do not care about security issues (SPECTRE anyone?) in the host operating system.

In order to continue to be able to use the few Xeon Phi's that I have, I have created patches for the mpss-modules source files, so that it can be compiled on newer RedHat/ CentOS Linux kernels, including Note that the mpss-modules source tarballs from Intel for MPSS 3.8.4, 3.8.5 and 3.8.6 seem different, but a diff -r on the source trees resulted in zero difference. Thus, if you are stuck running an older version of the MPSS software stack then you can apply the same patches.

You can find these patches on the following pages, as well as an outline of how to get the MPSS software stack running on Ubuntu 18 (kernel 4.15).

Intel Xeon Phi (KNL) support

Before someone asks: I do not have access to a second-generation KNL co-processor card, nor to the accompanying MPSS 4.x software stack. If someone wants me to support the KNL co-processor on RHEL/CentOS 8, then send me a card and the software and I will see what I can do for you ;)
MPSS main | MPSS CentOS 7 | MPSS CentOS 8 | MPSS Ubuntu | Comments to Jan Just Keijser