E4 Computer Engineering Unveils New ARM-GPU Clusters

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 13, 2012

This week at SC12, Italian cluster maker E4 Computer Engineering, launched a new series heterogeneous clusters, which pair an NVIDIA’s ARM+GPU Tegra3 with a discrete Quadro GPU. We asked E4’s Simone Tinti, who leads the HPC team at E4, to describe the new systems and talk about the advantage they offer to high performance computing users.

HPCwire: What does E4 Computer Engineering do, and who are your primary customers today?

Simone Tinti: E4 Computer Engineering new web site went online just before SC12 with a renewed look and a lot of contents) designs and manufactures high  performance computing and storage systems. We have a vast portfolio of solutions ranging from technical workstation to complete datacenter. E4 is also very active in providing storage solutions.

E4 Computer Engineering is currently operating in Europe, although CARMA solutions will be available worldwide. Our primary customer base is academia and research. For the past 7 years we have been one of the major supplier of CERN. At present we have more than 11,000 cores active in the CERN  datacenter –1700 computing nodes — and more than 20 petabytes of storage.

Other relevant customers are ETHZ, EPFL, INFN, SISSA, ICTP,  Novartis, Merck, NATO and many more.
 
CARMA solutions are the results a E4 and SECO partnership. SECO is a European  designer  and manufacturer  of  high  integrated  board computers  and  systems  for  embedded applications. Founded in 1979 in Italy, SECO attention is focused on developing   innovative products with high performances efficiency, low power    consumption and increased functionality, offering in the meantime a short time-to-market. SECO has designed and manufactured the CARMA Devkit
 
HPCwire:  In a nutshell, could you briefly describe the three ARM-based solutions you are introducing and the application domains they are targeted at?
 
Tinti: We are introducing two platforms able to host carrier boards for the Qseven modules.

The CARMA microcluster, a 5U chassis, contains up to 8 CARMA blades  — by default they have one NVIDIA Tegra 3 plus one NVIDIA Quadro 1000 — and one x86-based  management node.

The CARMA cluster is a 3U chassis, containing up to 12 CARMA2 blades. These are high density blades, each one containing two CARMA blades for a total of two ARM CPUs plus two Quadro 1000 GPUs or 12 DARMA blades with four ARM CPUs per blade. You can, of course, mix DARMA and CARMA2 blades in the same chassis.

All blades (CARMA, CARMA2 , DARMA) are compliant with the Qseven standard so  the motherboard  — or to be more accurate the carrier board — contains only I/O devices like network, HDMI, SATA and so on.

The CPU component  — actually a SoC containing CPU, RAM, Flash memory, graphics adapter — may be selected from broad range of x86 architecture http://www.seco.com/it/itemlist/qseven/. Qseven technology  provides the highest flexibility while reducing engineering costs. In fact you can swap the CPU architecture re-using  the same carrier board without any modification.  SECO is a co-founder of Qseven consortium.

HPCwire: Regarding HPC applications, what are the advantages of the CARMA solutions compared to a more traditional x86/Tesla GPU cluster?  What niche are you filling with these ARM-based solutions?

Tinti: CARMA solutions provides a low power platform, ideal for applications that relies mainly on GPU computing power. With typical GPU computing systems you need a platform in the range of 250 to 350 watt, for example, a dual-Intel Xeon E5 or dual-AMD Opteron 6200 or 6300 in order to have your GPUs up and running. This is fine as long as a relevant part of the computation relies on CPUs, otherwise this is simply a waste a of power.

Usually GPUs are claimed to have a gigaflops per watt ratio of 3 (higher that the ~2 you can achieve on a BlueGene/Q systems, this is true only if you consider the GPU devices — around 200 watts for  600 peak gigaflops. When you consider the whole platform this ratio drops down 1.2 /0.9 not far from a pure CPU systems as documented in the Green500.

With CARMA blades you need only 10 watts for the CPU, RAM, and flash drive; therefore most of the power — 45 watts — is dedicated to GPUs.

The “must” for exploiting CARMA solution is to have an application that is strongly focused on CUDA for CARMA and CARMA2 blades, or on big data/cloud for DARMA blades.

HPCwire:  What is the advantage of pairing a heterogeneous ARM plus GPU Tegra 3 with a discrete Quadro GPU?  What is the intended programming model for such an arrangement?

Tinti: With the current generation of ARM CPUs, you cannot address algorithms based on floating point arithmetic, therefore most scientific applications are excluded. NVIDIA Quadro GPU broadens the range of applications that can be addressed and gives a huge boost to performance.  CARMA is the one and the only platform available on the market that combines ARM’s low power CPUs with powerful NVIDIA GPUs.

HPCwire: Will developers with existing CUDA applications, run on an x86-Tesla set-up, be able to port their codes to the CARMA platform?

Yes, we provide a pre-configured cross compiling environment for ARM, CUDA, and MPI that makes this process very easy. Support services are also available. We are currently porting some applications, which will be disclosed soon. The systems come with the NVIDIA SDK and ORNL’s SHOC benchmark suite.

HPCwire: Are these clusters intended for production environments?

Tinti: The CARMA cluster is designed to be used in production environment, and provides a robust platform for a wide range of application: HPC, big data, and cloud.

The CARMA microcluster is designed to be a perfect development platform. It’s very quiet and can also be placed beside a desk. It could be used to create, but not for critical environments since a redundant power supply or remote management feature, like IPMI, are not available yet. Based upon the feedback we will receive at SC we will eventually release a more robust version of CARMA microcluster.

HPCwire:  Do you have customers with installed systems, or in the pipeline, for any of  the CARMA or DARMA systems?  What geographies do you intend to serve?

Tinti: More than 2000 CARMA dev kit has been sold so far to the most relevant research centers around the world. A lot of industries in different market such as animation, oil & gas, microelectronics, telecommunications, defense, and manufacturing have adopted it as a development platform. Unfortunately we cannot disclose the name, most of them are developing innovative applications and prefer to keep their privacy right now. Most of these customers are of course waiting for a platform ready for production, like the CARMA series.

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!

GDPR’s Impact on Scientific Research Uncertain

May 24, 2018

Amid the angst over preparations—or lack thereof—for new European Union data protections entering into force at week’s end is the equally worrisome issue of the rules’ impact on scientific research. Among the Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Francisco, one would be tempted to dismiss its claims of inventing Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been emerging from stealth over the last year and a half, is unveili Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been eme Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

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

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. 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

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

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