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!

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that d Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competition. This is the twelfth time that teams of university undergr Read more…

By Dan Olds

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

At SC18: GM, Boeing, Deere, BP Talk Enterprise HPC Strategies

November 9, 2018

SC18 in Dallas (Nov.11-16) will feature an impressive series of sessions focused on the enterprise HPC deployments at some of the largest industrial companies: Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

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

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon 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

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... 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