Jaguar Scales TOP500

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 19, 2009

When first deployed in 2005, the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab booted up with a peak speed of only 26 teraflops. Since then it has been continuously enhanced with additional cabinets and new AMD Opteron processors. The latest upgrade involved replacing the quad-core Opteron chips with AMD’s latest six-core version, which propelled it to the number one spot on the newly announced TOP500 list.

With a Linpack mark of 1.759 petaflops, it outran the number two Roadrunner system by a good 750 teraflops. Jaguar also managed to come out on top in the HPC Challenge STREAM benchmark, with a sustainable memory bandwidth of 398 terabytes per second.

We asked John Fruehe, AMD’s director of Opteron product marketing, and Buddy Bland, the project director for the ORNL Leadership Computing Facility, about the significance of this accomplishment and what it means for the most demanding supercomputing applications.

HPCwire: What do you think is the significance of the first multi-petaflop machine powered purely by x86 CPUs?

John Fruehe: The number one position is really significant because it shows a culmination of supercomputing’s shift to industry-standard systems. These mammoth, world-class machines are no longer out of reach for the more average academic or enterprise HPC user. The market for a Cray XT5 or an Appro HyperCluster goes beyond the U.S. national labs and you see HPC customers monitoring regional weather patterns or searching out oil and gas reserves on the very same systems as what you have in the Top 10.

Let’s face it, most folks can’t go out and buy an Earth Simulator or a Blue Gene. x86 has made world-class supercomputing a lot more democratic. And of course, this number one win shows the raw processing capability of x86 and specifically AMD’s brand of x86 in the form of the game-changing Opteron processor. In the past, larger, more expensive and proprietary systems ruled the top of the chart. Today, more economical and scalable x86 platforms are rapidly becoming the norm for supercomputing and that gives customers more flexibility and choice.

HPCwire: In performance-per-watt, Jaguar still lags other more exotic supercomputing architectures. Given the escalating concern of energy efficiency in these large-scale machines, what does that say about the role of the x86 in future supercomputing systems?

Fruehe: Certainly an architecture like Cell is quite the power miser. But as we’ve seen with “Roadrunner,” frankly, the Cell architecture needs Opteron to get the job done. A system like “Jaguar” or any of the other systems that are near the top of the list are deployed to do a specific job. Many times, power is certainly a concern, but not the overriding concern.

For more mainstream HPC, I think we will continue to see x86 dominate because of economics and because it delivers the performance and is what the industry knows best. We’ll continue to see the additional low-power improvements that AMD is implementing — above and beyond what we’ve already done — take hold and bring HPC overall more in line with an acceptable level of power draw.

As AMD moves to its future generations, you will continue to see an emphasis on power efficiency in the data center as we continue to drive greater amounts of performance and scalability while staying within approximately the same power/thermal ranges, resulting in increasingly greater performance per watt with each generation.

HPCwire: Jaguar’s Linpack performance is certainly impressive. But what types of applications are going to be able to fully utilize the scale of this machine?

Buddy Bland: While Linpack is a test of the computational performance of computer systems, Jaguar was designed to run applications that are demanding on all of the aspects of the system. Within just a few weeks of completing the upgrade of Jaguar, we have several applications that are scaling to use the full performance of the system. Three of this year’s Gordon Bell award finalists are running on Jaguar using the full scope of the machine. We also have many of our key applications in areas such as materials science, computational chemistry, fusion energy, superconductivity, and bioenergy using all of Jaguar today. We expect that as the remainder of our users get access to the upgraded system, we will see most of our applications taking full advantage of the size of the system.

HPCwire: What other types of applications are slated to get time on Jaguar?

Bland: The DOE INCITE program allocates time on the leadership systems: Jaguar at ORNL and Intrepid at ANL. A small number of scientifically important, time critical applications from government laboratories, academia and industry are awarded large blocks of time. In 2009, 38 projects received allocations of time on Jaguar as part of the INCITE program.

Jaguar is supporting some of the most important projects of our time such as:

  • understanding the causes, impacts, and mitigations of climate change.
  • energy storage such as new batteries and capacitors, which are needed to make technologies like solar cells and wind power more useful.
  • fusion energy which will harness the power that fuels the sun to generate clean, carbon-free power.
  • bioenergy projects that are understanding how to convert waste cellulose products such a switch grass into renewable biofuels.
  • nuclear power projects that are designing new types of reactors that are safer and do not pose the threats of nuclear proliferation.

HPCwire: Is there an upgrade path for Jaguar beyond its current configuration?

Bland: The socket replaceable line of processors from AMD and the board compatible line of systems from Cray have been a key part of the success of Jaguar. We have been able to upgrade cabinets from single-core to dual-core to quad-core and now to 6-core processors while preserving much of our investment. This allowed ORNL and Cray to upgrade Jaguar, stepping up from 26 teraflops to 54 TF, 119 TF, 263 TF, and now 2.3 petaflops. Without this series of increasingly powerful systems, we would not have been able to continuously move the users and their applications to higher and higher performance, resulting in the scientific success we have seen from the system. Cray’s line of systems may yet provide another upgrade path for Jaguar.

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!

Data Vortex Users Contemplate the Future of Supercomputing

October 19, 2017

Last month (Sept. 11-12), HPC networking company Data Vortex held its inaugural users group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) bringing together about 30 participants from industry, government and academia t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Self-Training Goes Forward at Google DeepMind

October 19, 2017

DeepMind, Google’s AI research organization, announced today in a blog that AlphaGo Zero, the latest evolution of AlphaGo (the first computer program to defeat a Go world champion) trained itself within three days to play Go at a superhuman level (i.e., better than any human) – and to beat the old version of AlphaGo – without leveraging human expertise, data or training. Read more…

By Doug Black

Researchers Scale COSMO Climate Code to 4888 GPUs on Piz Daint

October 17, 2017

Effective global climate simulation, sorely needed to anticipate and cope with global warming, has long been computationally challenging. Two of the major obstacles are the needed resolution and prolonged time to compute Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Transforming Genomic Analytics with HPC-Accelerated Insights

Advancements in the field of genomics are revolutionizing our understanding of human biology, rapidly accelerating the discovery and treatment of genetic diseases, and dramatically improving human health. Read more…

Student Cluster Competition Coverage New Home

October 16, 2017

Hello computer sports fans! This is the first of many (many!) articles covering the world-wide phenomenon of Student Cluster Competitions. Finally, the Student Cluster Competition coverage has come to its natural home: H Read more…

By Dan Olds

Data Vortex Users Contemplate the Future of Supercomputing

October 19, 2017

Last month (Sept. 11-12), HPC networking company Data Vortex held its inaugural users group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) bringing together ab Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Self-Training Goes Forward at Google DeepMind

October 19, 2017

DeepMind, Google’s AI research organization, announced today in a blog that AlphaGo Zero, the latest evolution of AlphaGo (the first computer program to defeat a Go world champion) trained itself within three days to play Go at a superhuman level (i.e., better than any human) – and to beat the old version of AlphaGo – without leveraging human expertise, data or training. Read more…

By Doug Black

Student Cluster Competition Coverage New Home

October 16, 2017

Hello computer sports fans! This is the first of many (many!) articles covering the world-wide phenomenon of Student Cluster Competitions. Finally, the Student Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel Delivers 17-Qubit Quantum Chip to European Research Partner

October 10, 2017

On Tuesday, Intel delivered a 17-qubit superconducting test chip to research partner QuTech, the quantum research institute of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The announcement marks a major milestone in the 10-year, $50-million collaborative relationship with TU Delft and TNO, the Dutch Organization for Applied Research, to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fujitsu Tapped to Build 37-Petaflops ABCI System for AIST

October 10, 2017

Fujitsu announced today it will build the long-planned AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) which is set to become the fastest supercomputer system in Japan Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Intel Debuts Programmable Acceleration Card

October 5, 2017

With a view toward supporting complex, data-intensive applications, such as AI inference, video streaming analytics, database acceleration and genomics, Intel i Read more…

By Doug Black

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This