Lawrence Livermore, IBM Offer Petascale Supercomputer to Industry

By Michael Feldman

June 27, 2012

One by one, US government HPC labs are getting into the industry partnership business. The latest is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), who this week announced it was teaming with IBM to form “Deep Computing Solutions,” a collaboration that is being folded into LLNL’s new High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC).

Announced in June 2011, LLNL’s HPCIC is tasked with spurring industry innovation by bringing companies into the HPC fold. The idea is to marry the technology with the needs of businesses in order to boost the competitive capabilities of US companies. This subtle shift in the mission of national labs, which is occurring at both NSF and DOE sites, reflects a desire by policymakers to leverage the government’s multi-million dollar investments in supercomputing for the betterment of the domestic economy.

HPCIC, like similar public-private partnership programs at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory ORNL), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and elsewhere, is designed to help US companies compete more effectively in the global marketplace via HPC. Among other things, this can involve using supercomputers to run virtual product simulations, model new energy systems or new materials, or employ data mining for informatics-type apps or to help make better business decisions.

In the latter case, the idea is to demonstrate use cases for “big data” applications using supercomputing technology. Data-intensive computing has become a major focus across the national labs, with many in the community now looking at the application domain as a way to mainstream HPC technology.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the HPCIC program is the size of the resource being allocated to support the work. In this case, IBM will be providing one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, a 5 (peak) petaflop Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. That system, known as Vulcan, is partially installed at LLNL as a 400-teraflop system, which currently sits at number 48 on the latest TOP500 list. The full 5-teraflop machine is scheduled to be fully deployed later this summer.

As such, it will be one of a handful of petascale supercomputers in the world available to industrial users. According to LLNL deputy department head Doug East, Vulcan will mostly be used as a capacity machine, but “with the ability to schedule capability-class jobs as well, including dedicated access times for petascale efforts as they evolve.”

Vulcan was acquired under the same $200 million-plus contract used to procure Dawn, LLNL’s 500-teraflop Blue Gene/P system, and Sequoia, the lab’s new 20-petaflop Blue Gene/Q, which, as of last week, earned the title of the world’s top supercomputer. The 24-rack Vulcan is basically a quarter-sized Sequoia, and if it were up and running today, the machine would likely be ranked as the 4th most powerful computer on the planet.

Unlike Sequoia though, whose prime mission is to serve the NNSA and its primary task of maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, Vulcan flops will be parceled out to commercial businesses. The focus will be on industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and power generation, which fits into the lab’s DOE’s mission to advance the nation’s energy prospects and the NNSA’s somewhat mandate to support national, economic and energy security. Although Vulcan will be the go-to resource for HPCIC’s Deep Computing Solutions, it’s also slated to support unclassified NNSA research, LLNL academic alliances and other in-house science and technology efforts.

Specific program partners were not announced, but HPCIC’s current affiliations include Energy Exemplar (energy systems) and Navistar (truck fuel efficiency). Unlike the DOE INCITE program, proprietary access to Vulcan will be available on demand. Open access initiatives, based on reviewed proposals, may also be offered from time to time.

As with the other public-private partnership programs based at national laboratories, the idea is to not only leverage the supercomputer resources, but the indigenous HPC expertise as well. In fact, according to East, providing access to the physical supercomputer resources is secondary. “We are seeking clients that are primarily interested in utilizing the HPC application and domain expertise of LLNL and IBM to enhance their competitive position,” he told HPCwire.

In the case of LLNL, that encompasses over 20 years of HPC experience, including 8 years of accumulated experience developing codes specifically for Blue Gene machines. “We believe that we can help American industry solve some of their largest problems, taking their computing to the next level, and using that capability that we have developed in order to help them be more competitive in their business,” said HPCIC director Frederick Streitz.

IBM expertise will also be made available to the partners. The effort will involve a significant number of people from the company’s research arm, according to IBM’s Dave Turek. What Big Blue gets in return, besides client good will and perhaps the promise of future business, is feedback on what commercial businesses like these require in order to exploit high performance computing.

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!

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

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 companies and their embrace of AI and deep learning – tha Read more…

By Doug Black

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…

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 designed to emulate and compete with the human brain. In thi 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 data and artificial intelligence software to its top-of-the-l Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “global” launch event in Austin TX. In many ways it was a fu Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion: Deep Learning, AI Helping Drive Healthy HPC Industry Growth

June 20, 2017

To be at the ISC conference in Frankfurt this week is to experience deep immersion in deep learning. Users want to learn about it, vendors want to talk about it, analysts and journalists want to report on it. Deep learni Read more…

By Doug Black

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

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “g Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion: Deep Learning, AI Helping Drive Healthy HPC Industry Growth

June 20, 2017

To be at the ISC conference in Frankfurt this week is to experience deep immersion in deep learning. Users want to learn about it, vendors want to talk about it Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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

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

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

Knights Landing Processor with Omni-Path Makes Cloud Debut

April 18, 2017

HPC cloud specialist Rescale is partnering with Intel and HPC resource provider R Systems to offer first-ever cloud access to Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors. The infrastructure is based on the 68-core Intel Knights Landing processor with integrated Omni-Path fabric (the 7250F Xeon Phi). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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