Workshop Focuses on Use of Manycore and Accelerator-based Computing for Advancing Science

By Jon Bashor

December 16, 2009

Online, at conferences and in theory, manycore processors and the use of accelerators such as GPUs and FPGAs are being viewed as the next big revolution in high performance computing (HPC). If they can live up to the potential, these accelerators could someday transform how computational science is performed, providing much more computing power and energy efficiency.

And, in fact, they are already helping to drive significant scientific research projects — not bundled together in large systems, but rather one server at a time. In early December, a group of astronomers, physicists and HPC experts gathered at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory near San Francisco to discuss how GPUs and FPGAs are meeting their unique needs. The three-day workshop was co-organized by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC, SLAC and Stanford’s Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC).

The workshop was organized as a part of an ongoing effort to develop infrastructure for enabling physics and astronomy data problems by utilizing these emerging technologies. More than a year ago under the leadership of Horst Simon of LBNL, John Shalf and Hemant Shukla also of LBNL with Rainer Spurzem of the Chinese Academy of Sciences agreed to establish a working collaboration. The workshop was held on a shoestring budget with help from Tom Abel of KIPAC.

“The participating scientific groups started with challenging problems that required parallel performance to meet real-time requirements,” said co-organizer Shukla. “The effective approach to solving such problems as wavefront sensing and real-time radio imaging is to identify the underlying algorithms for speedups and thereby solve common sets of problems.”

The problems shared a common issue — strong real-time constraints. One application is in solving the challenges in real-time control of adaptive optics systems for high-resolution, ground-based astronomy. The second was in radio telescope arrays in remote locations with only limited power. In the second case, the researchers needed the power of a highly parallel system, but a standard cluster computer on a rack would require more electricity than is available. Using GPU acceleration was just the ticket.

“Instead of starting with the technology and seeing if a problem could be solved, as is often the case, they had a problem and found the technology to solve it,” said co-organizer Shalf.

In both cases, the scientists needed a speedup in processor performance and discovered that new technologies such as GPUs and FPGAs provided the enhancements. Their needs were different than those of many other researchers, who look to HPC centers to run their applications on a larger number of processors rather than just running their applications faster.

“The current direction in supercomputing doesn’t address the needs of researchers who need to solve the same-size problem faster, as opposed to solving a bigger problem at the same speed,” Shalf said.

At the workshop, experts from Asia, Europe and North America got together to share information on solving problems in this area, as well as explore and discuss the scope and challenges of harnessing the full potential of these novel architectures for high performance computing. The workshop drew attendees from academia and industry in China, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the United States. Future experiments such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, Murchison Wide-filed Array, the next-generation SETI and the Allen Telescope Array participated in defining the future goals, as did industry leaders including NVIDIA, AMD, Apple, and Sun Microsystems.

Conference advisor Rainer Spurzem of the Chinese Academy of Sciences cited the “eclectic mix” of attendees as adding to the informative exchange of ideas and experience.

“Although the focus was on physics and astronomy applications, the solutions explored by the participants are likely to have broader impact across science and technology disciplines such as healthcare, energy, aerospace and others,” said workshop co-organizer Hemant Shukla of the Berkeley Lab Physics Division. “These emerging new techniques could lead to new systems and software that use both silicon and electrical power much more efficiently. As we move beyond today’s petascale systems, such efficiency is a necessity.”

Other groups are also meeting to explore how these emerging processor technologies can advance a broad range of scientific applications. The workshop at SLAC was held two weeks after the newly-formed Hybrid Multicore Consortium met for the first time at the SC09 (Supercomputing) conference in Portland, Ore. Co-founded by Berkeley Lab, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories, the consortium seeks to address the challenge of re-engineering most of today’s scientific applications to take advantage of the resources provided by future hybrid multicore systems.

“While there is considerable excitement about the potential of multicore systems and harnessing their performance for computational science, reaching this goal will require a tremendous effort by both the application experts and software developers,” said LBNL’s Simon, one of three members of the consortium’s executive committee.

Afterward, Wei Ge of the Chinese Academy of Sciences wrote to the organizers, “It was a very informative and fruitful workshop and thank you very much again for your organization and kind invitation to us.”

And some participants were already looking ahead to future collaborations and building resources and communities.

“I have gained quite a bit of information and impressions throughout and I am in the process of transferring all that to our Sun community,” wrote Ferhat Hatay, who works in Strategic Engagements at Sun Microsystems. “We are most interested in contributing to collaboration efforts with the expertise, interest, and support from Sun as well as from our customer and user base.”

—–

See http://www.lbl.gov/cs/html/manycore.html for the workshop and http://computing.ornl.gov/HMC/index.html for the HMC consortium.

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!

DoE Awards 24 ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) Projects

June 28, 2017

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) program awarded 24 projects a total of 2.1 billion core-hours at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). The o Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

STEM-Trekker Badisa Mosesane Attends CERN Summer Student Program

June 27, 2017

Badisa Mosesane, an undergraduate scholar who studies computer science at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, recently joined other students from developing nations around the world in Geneva, Switzerland to particip Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

The EU Human Brain Project Reboots but Supercomputing Still Needed

June 26, 2017

The often contentious, EU-funded Human Brain Project whose initial aim was fixed firmly on full-brain simulation is now in the midst of a reboot targeting a more modest goal – development of informatics tools and data/ Read more…

By John Russell

DOE Launches Chicago Quantum Exchange

June 26, 2017

While many of us were preoccupied with ISC 2017 last week, the launch of the Chicago Quantum Exchange went largely unnoticed. So what is such a thing? It is a Department of Energy sponsored collaboration between the Univ Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Creating a Roadmap for HPC Innovation at ISC 2017

In an era where technological advancements are driving innovation to every sector, and powering major economic and scientific breakthroughs, high performance computing (HPC) is crucial to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Read more…

UMass Dartmouth Reports on HPC Day 2017 Activities

June 26, 2017

UMass Dartmouth's Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research (CSCVR) organized and hosted the third annual "HPC Day 2017" on May 25th. This annual event showcases on-going scientific research in Massach Read more…

By Gaurav Khanna

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 “pre-exascale” award), parsed out additional information ab Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid whoops and hollers from the crowd, Thomas Sterling presented t Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out plans to push deeper into climate science and develop more gran Read more…

By John Russell

DoE Awards 24 ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) Projects

June 28, 2017

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) program awarded 24 projects a total of 2.1 billion core-hour Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

DOE Launches Chicago Quantum Exchange

June 26, 2017

While many of us were preoccupied with ISC 2017 last week, the launch of the Chicago Quantum Exchange went largely unnoticed. So what is such a thing? It is a D Read more…

By John Russell

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

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid wh Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out pla Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale Read more…

By Doug Black

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big d Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

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

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

Joint DOE-NSA report responds to the increased global pressures impacting the competitiveness of U.S. supercomputing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

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