Polish HPC Consortium Boosts Prospects for Local Scientists

By Nicole Hemsoth

January 2, 2013

Poland is not usually thought of as a supercomputing powerhouse. Until recently, most of the local research and academic centers housed only modest-sized HPC clusters for Polish researchers. That is now changing with the POWIEW project, a consortium devoted to bringing world-class high performance computing to the nation’s scientists.

POWIEW provides five state-of-the art systems, based on the latest processor technology from Intel, AMD, IBM, and NVIDIA. The machines are spread across the consortium’s three member organizations: the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling (ICM) in Warsaw, Krakow’s Academic Computer Centre (CYFRONET), and the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC).

We asked Maciej Filocha, POWIEW’s project manager and director of its HPC division, to describe the impetus behind the organization and how they serve local researchers and scientists.

HPCwire: Can you describe the mission of POWIEW and the rationale for developing an indigenous supercomputing project for Poland?

Maciej Filocha: The POWIEW project sets up a unified strategy concept for the HPC development in Poland addressing research and academia. It encompasses a program of significant computational infrastructure enhancement, associated R&D programs and graduate and postgraduate education.

Since the early 2000s, the Polish HPC ecosystem was dominated by capacity-level cluster solutions — still relevant for many scientists, but obviously less so for “real” large-scale parallelism. To ensure competitiveness and attractiveness of Polish research organizations, local computational infrastructure was to be enhanced accordingly.

HPCwire: How do Polish scientists and researchers view the significance of HPC for their work?

Filocha: The POWIEW consortium consists of three leading research and academic HPC centers, founded about 20 years ago. From the beginning, the number of users has been growing and includes representatives of “classical” computational and life sciences as well as material sciences, engineering and environmental sciences.

HPCwire: What’s the level of funding for the project and where does it come from?

Filocha: The project is founded by the EU from the Innovative Economy Programme (85 percent), complemented by domestic sources (15 percent), with total budget of about 23 million euros (17 million USD). This covers not only acquisition and deployment of new computing systems but also R&D activities related to porting and optimization of selected codes for new architectures and general enabling actions.

HPCwire: What supercomputers are currently up and running at POWIEW, and how are they being used?

Filocha: The POWIEW Project focuses on two major HPC application areas: massively parallel processing (MPP) that delivers high scalability in fine-grained parallelism and symmetric multiprocessing for intensively coarse-grain parallel computational applications.

For the MPP class, the Blue Gene/P solution was chosen and has been running for almost two years with a full system load. The Blue Gene/P system is maintained by the CM) in Warsaw. This architecture is particularly useful by material science and life science researchers for its performance with high scalability on MPI applications. The system is also heavily used by neuroscientists where it enables simulations of large neural networks with reasonable performance. Most of the jobs running on the Blue Gene/P utilize a few thousand CPU cores.

For the second class of systems two solutions were identified: the IBM Power775 system installed at ICM in Warsaw and the SGI Altix UV SMP machine at the PSNC in Poznan. Both systems use the fat-node approach with the SGI UV implementing “true” SMP — one super node — while the Power775 represents a cluster of super nodes.

The Power775 machine is currently in operation for almost one year. It is used for the most demanding workloads, including high resolution atmosphere studies for weather predictions and very large cosmological simulations. The system has proven its high performance for memory-intensive and computing-intensive tasks.

The SGI machine in Poznan, being also a PRACE Tier-1 site, is the only SMP system of comparable size in Poland. It is used for memory-intensive tasks including reservoir modeling and complex simulations in astrophysics.

As a third technology choice, hardware-accelerated clusters have been identified. Both HPC centers in Poznan, and CYFRONET in Cracow, installed accelerated clusters choosing GPGPU solutions. GPUs in Cracow constitute a part of the largest supercomputer in Poland. Accelerators are widely utilized there to optimize locally developed codes for quantum chemistry computations and complex dynamics in astrophysics applications.

Another installation is the SGI/Rackable system maintained by PSNC, using AMD x86 servers accelerated with NVIDIA GPU cards. It is used for computing intensive tasks in molecular modeling and fluid flow dynamics in porous media — reservoir modeling.

HPCwire: Why such a wide variety of architectures? Doesn’t that create problems for users who want to share applications across platforms?

Filocha: An underlying idea for POWIEW was to provide all existing key HPC architectures based on complementarity and competencies sharing among project partners. Project experts are expected to provide support to the researchers so as optimize their choice of suitable architectures.
HPCwire: Poland is a member of PRACE. How does POWIEW fit into that consortium?

Filocha: All POWIEW project members are actively involved in PRACE activities since their beginning. They work in applications, hardware and policy-related tasks. Selected systems deployed within POWIEW project are now included as a Tier-1 systems in current Distributed European Computing Initiative (DECI) calls. Some of our computers, including the IBM 775 system are the first of its kind available for PRACE users. Our experience of day-to-day use of such systems allowed us to contribute significantly to best practices guides for PRACE users.

HPCwire: As far as the future of POWIEW, what’s being planned: new systems, collaborations, new application areas…?

Filocha: Formally, POWIEW will run until mid-2013, but the actual goal is to extend the deployed hardware infrastructure and acquired software competencies further, based on experience gained during last three years of intensive growth.

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!

Lenovo to Debut ‘Neptune’ Cooling Technologies at ISC ‘18

June 19, 2018

Lenovo today announced a set of cooling technologies, dubbed Neptune, that include direct to node (DTN) warm water cooling, rear door heat exchanger (RDHX), and hybrid solutions that combine air and liquid cooling. Lenov Read more…

By John Russell

World Cup is Lame Compared to This Competition

June 18, 2018

So you think World Cup soccer is a big deal? While I’m sure it’s very compelling to watch a bunch of athletes kick a ball around, World Cup misses the boat because it doesn’t include teams putting together their ow Read more…

By Dan Olds

IBM Demonstrates Deep Neural Network Training with Analog Memory Devices

June 18, 2018

From smarter, more personalized apps to seemingly-ubiquitous Google Assistant and Alexa devices, AI adoption is showing no signs of slowing down – and yet, the hardware used for AI is far from perfect. Currently, GPUs Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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

Banks Boost Infrastructure to Tackle GDPR

As banks become more digital and data-driven, their IT managers are challenged with fast growing data volumes and lines-of-businesses’ (LoBs’) seemingly limitless appetite for analytics. Read more…

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

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

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

Xiaoxiang Zhu Receives the 2018 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC

June 13, 2018

Xiaoxiang Zhu, who works for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Technical University of Munich (TUM), was awarded the 2018 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC for her outstanding contributions in the field of high performance computing (HPC) in Europe. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

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

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

Exascale USA – Continuing to Move Forward

June 6, 2018

The end of May 2018, saw several important events that continue to advance the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) for the United Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Exascale for the Rest of Us: Exaflops Systems Capable for Industry

June 6, 2018

Enterprise advanced scale computing – or HPC in the enterprise – is an entity unto itself, situated between (and with characteristics of) conventional enter Read more…

By Doug Black

Fracas in Frankfurt: ISC18 Cluster Competition Teams Unveiled

June 6, 2018

The Student Cluster Competition season heats up with the seventh edition of the ISC Student Cluster Competition, slated to begin on June 25th in Frankfurt, Germ Read more…

By Dan Olds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google I/O 2018: AI Everywhere; TPU 3.0 Delivers 100+ Petaflops but Requires Liquid Cooling

May 9, 2018

All things AI dominated discussion at yesterday’s opening of Google’s I/O 2018 developers meeting covering much of Google's near-term product roadmap. The e Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

Google Charts Two-Dimensional Quantum Course

April 26, 2018

Quantum error correction, essential for achieving universal fault-tolerant quantum computation, is one of the main challenges of the quantum computing field and it’s top of mind for Google’s John Martinis. At a presentation last week at the HPC User Forum in Tucson, Martinis, one of the world's foremost experts in quantum computing, emphasized... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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