GPU Tech Conference Wrap-Up

By Michael Feldman

September 23, 2010

If there’s one take away from this week’s NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC), it’s that GPU computing has grown up. Having been to last year’s event, it’s amazing to see how many more academic researchers and companies are taking the technology seriously in 2010. The exhibition hall was twice the size of GTC in 2009, enough to accommodate the 100 or so vendors plying their GPGPU wares. As NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said in Thursday morning’s fireside chat session, “This is the year when applications developed on GPU computing go into production.”

There was so much activity centered on technical computing at this year’s event that at times it seemed like a CPU-less version of November’s Supercomputing Conference. That was also reflected in the exhibitor list, which included HPC stalwarts like IBM, HP, SGI, Dell, Appro, Supermicro, Microsoft, The Portland Group, Platform Computing, Mellanox, T-Platforms and at least a dozen others.

Application areas like seismic exploration, weather modeling, computer vision, and medical imaging are latching onto this technology quickly. Just slightly further behind are domains like biomolecular modeling, which appears to be ripe for the GPU. The Wednesday keynote by Dr. Klaus Schulten, a computational chemist at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, highlighted some early benefits in this area.

Schulten and his team at UI have started applying GPU acceleration to a range of molecular simulations. In his work, Schulten is employing GPGPU technology to develop the concept of a “computational microscope,” which is designed for nanoscale examination of biomolecules and cells. This virtual microscope consists of basic chemistry and physics algorithms, NAMD software (which will soon offer a GPU port), and supercomputing hardware.

One application that Schulten talked about was modeling the flu drug Tamiflu to determine how the H1N1 (“swine flu”) virus developed resistance to it. He’s also using the technology to study such phenomenon as virus infections, how proteins are synthesized, the mechanism of photosynthesis, epigenetics, and quantum chemistry. Some of the work is being accomplished on GPU workstations, but the larger models use NCSA’s Lincoln supercomputer, a heterogeneous cluster constructed from Dell PowerEdge servers and S1070 Tesla servers. Speedups on applications varied, the best being the quantum chemistry application. In that case, a simulation run that took a day with a CPU, took just a minute on the GPU platform.

There were a couple of sessions on the military applications of GPU computing, which looks to be a lucrative area for this technology. One presentation, hosted by EM Photonics, illustrated how GPGPU technology is being employed to accelerate compute-intensive applications in this domain. For example, an advanced image processing application was able to enhance long-distance photographs blurred by atmospheric distortion. GPU acceleration made it possible to perform this digital enhancement in real-time, opening up new applications for warfare and security operations. Other apps include electromagnetics simulations and CFD — the latter being used to simulate aircraft landings on carriers. Depending on the military scenario, the GPU platform could be a desktop machine, an embedded system, or a cluster.

Other GPU computing applications that got some exposure at GTC this year are business intelligence, complex event processing, and speech recognition — three areas that up until now would not have been associated with graphics processors. And of course there were a plethora of esoteric research applications, for example, Using GPUs for Real-Time Brain-Computer Interfaces — something that would have come in handy at GTC this week, give the overload of sessions, posters, exhibits, and after-hours partying.

This also looks to be a breakout year for ISV support of GPGPU in HPC. At the event, ANSYS announced it would be incorporating GPU acceleration into its popular engineering modeling and analysis solution, ANSYS Mechanical. That product is slated for release later in the year. And although SIMULIA and Livermore Software Technology Corp. (LSTC) made no formal announcements this week, two GTC presentations on Thursday suggest they also will be bringing out GPGPU-support for their flagship products (Abaqus FEA and LS-Dyna, respectively) within the next few months.

Even though GTC was more about developers and applications, there were a few sessions highlighting some of the larger GPU supercomputers deployed, or about to be deployed. In this latter category is TSUBAME 2.0, Tokyo Tech’s next-generation 2.4 petaflop super, which will be stuffed to the gills with 4,244 Tesla M2050 GPUs. In Tuesday’s presentation by Satoshi Matsuoka, he spotlighted some of the cutting-edge apps that will be running on the new machine. This includes ASUCA, Japan’s next-generation weather forecasting code that has been completely ported to the GPU (and reportedly took a year to do so). The result is that they will have a weather modeling application that is faster than real-time and works at resolutions of 0.5 km. According to Matsuoka, TSUBAME 2.0 is installed and undergoing stress tests, and will be formally announced in early October — so expect more coverage to follow.

If 2.4 petaflop supers don’t impress you, you’ll just have to wait a bit. Thanks to a brief peek at NVIDIA’s roadmap on Tuesday, the next generation of NVIDIA GPUs, Kepler, is slated to arrive in 2011. As Jen-Hsun Huang noted, “GPU computing is just starting. It’s nothing compared to what you’re going to have in a couple of years.”

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!

Russian and American Scientists Achieve 50% Increase in Data Transmission Speed

September 20, 2018

As high-performance computing becomes increasingly data-intensive and the demand for shorter turnaround times grows, data transfer speed becomes an ever more important bottleneck. Now, in an article published in IEEE Tra Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

IBM to Brand Rescale’s HPC-in-Cloud Platform

September 20, 2018

HPC (or big compute)-in-the-cloud platform provider Rescale has formalized the work it’s been doing in partnership with public cloud vendors by announcing its Powered by Rescale program – with IBM as its first named Read more…

By Doug Black

Democratization of HPC Part 1: Simulation Sheds Light on Building Dispute

September 20, 2018

This is the first of three articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of High Performance Computing especially in new user communities and application areas. Major reasons for this trend are the ongoing improvements i Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Introducing the First Integrated System Management Software for HPC Clusters from HPE

How do you manage your complex, growing cluster environments? Answer that big challenge with the new HPC cluster management solution: HPE Performance Cluster Manager. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Clouds Over the Ocean – a Healthcare Perspective

Advances in precision medicine, genomics, and imaging; the widespread adoption of electronic health records; and the proliferation of medical Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices are resulting in an explosion of structured and unstructured healthcare-related data. Read more…

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 Gordon Bell Prize used Summit in their work. That’s impres Read more…

By John Russell

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

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Accelerates AI Inference in the Datacenter with T4 GPU

September 14, 2018

Nvidia is upping its game for AI inference in the datacenter with a new platform consisting of an inference accelerator chip--the new Turing-based Tesla T4 GPU- Read more…

By George Leopold

DeepSense Combines HPC and AI to Bolster Canada’s Ocean Economy

September 13, 2018

We often hear scientists say that we know less than 10 percent of the life of the oceans. This week, IBM and a group of Canadian industry and government partner Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Rigetti (and Others) Pursuit of Quantum Advantage

September 11, 2018

Remember ‘quantum supremacy’, the much-touted but little-loved idea that the age of quantum computing would be signaled when quantum computers could tackle Read more…

By John Russell

How FPGAs Accelerate Financial Services Workloads

September 11, 2018

While FSI companies are unlikely, for competitive reasons, to disclose their FPGA strategies, James Reinders offers insights into the case for FPGAs as accelerators for FSI by discussing performance, power, size, latency, jitter and inline processing. Read more…

By James Reinders

Update from Gregory Kurtzer on Singularity’s Push into FS and the Enterprise

September 11, 2018

Container technology is hardly new but it has undergone rapid evolution in the HPC space in recent years to accommodate traditional science workloads and HPC systems requirements. While Docker containers continue to dominate in the enterprise, other variants are becoming important and one alternative with distinctly HPC roots – Singularity – is making an enterprise push targeting advanced scale workload inclusive of HPC. Read more…

By John Russell

At HPC on Wall Street: AI-as-a-Service Accelerates AI Journeys

September 10, 2018

AIaaS – artificial intelligence-as-a-service – is the technology discipline that eases enterprise entry into the mysteries of the AI journey while lowering Read more…

By Doug Black

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

ORNL Summit Supercomputer Is Officially Here

June 8, 2018

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) together with IBM and Nvidia celebrated the official unveiling of the Department of Energy (DOE) Summit supercomputer toda Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

AMD’s EPYC Road to Redemption in Six Slides

June 21, 2018

A year ago AMD returned to the server market with its EPYC processor line. The earth didn’t tremble but folks took notice. People remember the Opteron fondly Read more…

By John Russell

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17


AMD @ SC17


ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack



DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17


IBM @ SC17


IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17


Lenovo @ SC17


Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17


Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17


Tyan @ SC17


Univa @ SC17


Sandia to Take Delivery of World’s Largest Arm System

June 18, 2018

While the enterprise remains circumspect on prospects for Arm servers in the datacenter, the leadership HPC community is taking a bolder, brighter view of the x86 server CPU alternative. Amongst current and planned Arm HPC installations – i.e., the innovative Mont-Blanc project, led by Bull/Atos, the 'Isambard’ Cray XC50 going into the University of Bristol, and commitments from both Japan and France among others -- HPE is announcing that it will be supply the United States National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with a 2.3 petaflops peak Arm-based system, named Astra. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Machine Learning Hype Cycle and HPC

June 14, 2018

Like many other HPC professionals I’m following the hype cycle around machine learning/deep learning with interest. I subscribe to the view that we’re probably approaching the ‘peak of inflated expectation’ but not quite yet starting the descent into the ‘trough of disillusionment. This still raises the probability that... Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

U.S Considering Launch of National Quantum Initiative

June 11, 2018

Sometime this month the U.S. House Science Committee will introduce legislation to launch a 10-year National Quantum Initiative, according to a recent report by Read more…

By John Russell

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