Leapfrogging the Petaflop Race

By Herbert Wenk

October 6, 2006

An undeclared race towards petaflop computing is in progress between the United States and Japan — a race which is being closely watched by the global HPC community. Right now the scales lean towards the U.S., which leads with its latest IBM Blue Gene/L computer, a 280 teraflops (sustained) system. The IBM machine took the number one spot from Japan's Earth Simulator in 2004, which had dominated the supercomputing charts since 2002.

Experts are expecting the first petaflop system within the next couple of years. The bets are that it will be a follow-on of the IBM design. However, Japan is not to be discounted. As the first and only country having specified supercomputers as “Key Technology of National Importance,” Japan is aiming at becoming the world leader in simulation capabilities in areas covering nano-science, life science, climate/geo-science, physical science and engineering. Unburdened by the responsibility for nuclear stockpile stewardship, it can focus its research and financing on providing a petaflop platform for real-world applications.

These efforts are harnessed by the RIKEN institute, which together with leading industries and universities has set up an organization that targets the development of a 10 petaflop system within the next six years. On September 19th, RIKEN issued a press release which officially declared these intentions. Back in April 2006, a research collaboration started in Japan to define the best possible architecture for such a system, based on a benchmark consisting of 21 real-world applications. Using these benchmarks, two candidates for such an architecture have now been selected for further design evaluation. They have been put forward by Fujitsu Ltd. and a team formed by NEC Corporation and Hitachi, Ltd. The results of this final evaluation will be available at the end of this fiscal year and will become the basis of the implementation. On September 19th and 20th, RIKEN held a seminar at which the announcement was made.

Taking advantage of a visit to Bonn, Germany to give a keynote lecture at a scientific conference, Dr. Mitsuyasu Hanamura, who heads the applications software group within the RIKEN Next-Generation Supercomputer R&D Center, took part in a press briefing organized by the NEC Europe Computing & Communication Research lab in St. Augustin, Germany. Dr. Hanamura, gave a technical summary of this subject.

The Next-Generation Supercomputer Project, as it is called within Japan, is tasked to support six distinct goals:

  • Achieve a “quantum” jump in knowledge, discovery and creation on topics such as the Milky Way formation process and planet forming.
  • Pursue breakthroughs in advanced science and engineering, such as nuclear reactor analysis, laser reaction analysis and engine design.
  • Develop predictive models of the interaction of human development and the environments, such as the influence of the El Nino phenomenon.
  • Support Japan in its goal to become an innovation leader and strengthen its economy and industries in areas such as nano-technology and nano-engineering.
  • Develop tailor-made solutions for medical care and drug design — at the level of the genome, cell and organs.
  • Make Japan the world's safest nation, by predicting and simulating the effects from natural disasters.

To reach these goals, the new machine will enable access for researchers and industries through the cyber science infrastructure framework of the National Research Grid Initiative (NAREGI) project initiated by the National Institute of Informatics (NII).

According to Dr. Hanamura, because of prohibitive power consumption, the new class of supercomputers will need technology breakthroughs. Based on reasonable projections until 2010 on compute-power per CPU, efficiency-factors and power consumption, as well as the need to support existing codes, he gave an estimate for a hypothetical one petaflop (sustained) system:
 
  CPU Type     Peak Perf.    Efficiency     Est. Power   SW Support
  ——–     ———-    ———-     ———-   ———-

  Vector       63 GF/CPU        0.3          47   MW        good

  Scalar       30 GF/CPU        0.1          40   MW        good

  Special-       n.a.           0.5          ~0.5 MW        poor
  Purpose    

This data clearly points towards a mixed hardware environment in order to be able to reach both high performance and the support of existing application code. As an example for special purpose hardware he pointed to RIKEN's MD-GRAPE3 machine, a special-purpose computer geared for molecular dynamics and multi-body calculations. In May 2006, a system based on this chip already achieved a performance level of over one petaflop. Therefore Dr. Hanamura foresees an architecture which combines scalar nodes, vector computers and special purpose computers into a single system. As multi-scale simulations often need to consider both particle-based and domain-based effects, which lend themselves naturally to different computing models, this new architecture should be well suited here.

The tentative schedule of the project is

  • Start operations: End of FY2010
  • Full completion: End of FY2011

Lead by Dr. Tadashi Watanabe, the father of NEC's SX family of supercomputers and Japan's Earth Simulator, the Next-Generation Supercomputer Center at RIKEN has started a new round in the HPC race. Boosted by a government grant, estimated at 750 million Euros, this development is expected to boost the competitiveness of Japan's IT industry and advance the acceptance of high performance computing in more and more industries.

—–

With 25 years of experience in IT, Herbert Wenk ([email protected]) is working as a consultant and technical journalist in Germany.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

SODALITE: Towards Automated Optimization of HPC Application Deployment

May 29, 2020

Developing and deploying applications across heterogeneous infrastructures like HPC or Cloud with diverse hardware is a complex problem. Enabling developers to describe the application deployment and optimising runtime p Read more…

By the SODALITE Team

What’s New in HPC Research: Astronomy, Weather, Security & More

May 29, 2020

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DARPA Looks to Automate Secure Silicon Designs

May 28, 2020

The U.S. military is ramping up efforts to secure semiconductors and its electronics supply chain by embedding defenses during the chip design phase. The automation effort also addresses the high cost and complexity of s Read more…

By George Leopold

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Expands to Europe, Reports on Research Projects

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium, a public-private effort delivering free access to HPC processing for scientists pursuing coronavirus research – some utilizing AI-based techniques – has expanded to more than 56 research Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s New in Computing vs. COVID-19: IceCube, TACC, Watson & More

May 28, 2020

Supercomputing, big data and artificial intelligence are crucial tools in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Around the world, researchers, corporations and governments are urgently devoting their computing reso Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Computational Fluid Dynamics on AWS

Over the past 30 years Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has grown to become a key part of many engineering design processes. From aircraft design to modelling the blood flow in our bodies, the ability to understand the behaviour of fluids has enabled countless innovations and improved the time to market for many products. Read more…

Supercomputer Simulations Explain the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs

May 28, 2020

The supercomputing community has cataclysms on the mind. Hot on the heels of supercomputer-powered research delving into the fate of the neanderthals, a team of researchers used supercomputers at the DiRAC (Distributed R Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Expands to Europe, Reports on Research Projects

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 HPC Consortium, a public-private effort delivering free access to HPC processing for scientists pursuing coronavirus research – some utilizing AI Read more…

By Doug Black

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Boosts Deep Learning Accuracy on Memristive Chips

May 27, 2020

IBM researchers have taken another step towards making in-memory computing based on phase change (PCM) memory devices a reality. Papers in Nature and Frontiers Read more…

By John Russell

Hats Over Hearts: Remembering Rich Brueckner

May 26, 2020

HPCwire and all of the Tabor Communications family are saddened by last week’s passing of Rich Brueckner. He was the ever-optimistic man in the Red Hat presiding over the InsideHPC media portfolio for the past decade and a constant presence at HPC’s most important events. Read more…

Nvidia Q1 Earnings Top Expectations, Datacenter Revenue Breaks $1B

May 22, 2020

Nvidia’s seemingly endless roll continued in the first quarter with the company announcing blockbuster earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Nvidia Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft’s Massive AI Supercomputer on Azure: 285k CPU Cores, 10k GPUs

May 20, 2020

Microsoft has unveiled a supercomputing monster – among the world’s five most powerful, according to the company – aimed at what is known in scientific an Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC in Life Sciences 2020 Part 1: Rise of AMD, Data Management’s Wild West, More 

May 20, 2020

Given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive enlistment of major HPC resources to fight the pandemic, it is especially appropriate to re Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Epyc Rome Picked for New Nvidia DGX, but HGX Preserves Intel Option

May 19, 2020

AMD continues to make inroads into the datacenter with its second-generation Epyc "Rome" processor, which last week scored a win with Nvidia's announcement that Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Contributors

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve Read more…

By John Russell

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This