Vulcan’s New Planet of Industrial Exploration

By Nicole Hemsoth

June 26, 2013

American competitiveness, particularly on the modeling and simulation front, has been a key initiative with a lot of lip service in the last decade. Several facilities, including the Ohio Supercomputer Center, have lent helping hands to bring HPC to industry–and fresh efforts are springing up, including at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

The difference between what centers like Ohio’s and LLNL’s are doing is truly a matter of scale. Those selected as industrial users will have a crack at a 5 petafopper that sits at number 8 on the recently-updated Top 500 supercomputer list.

With 390,000 cores and a new host of commercial applications to tweak, LLNL is providing a much-needed slew of software and scaling support. The lab is lining up participants to step to the high-core line to see how more compute horsepower can push modeling and simulation limits while solving specific scalability issues.

HPC Innovation Center Director, Fred Streitz says that Vulcan offers “a level of computing that is transformational, enabling the design and execution of studies that were previously impossible, opening opportunities for new scientific discoveries and breakthrough results for American industries.”

“It’s common for us to have people come to us because they’re hitting the limits on what they can do with commercial codes,” says Streitz. “It’s taking them too long to get answers or they want to model and simulate a large enough system with enough physics and they want to understand what the ROI would be to acquire more computing power.”

In other words, the project isn’t about providing supported access to high-end resources as a “gimme” in the name of competitiveness, it’s about convincing potential users that their investment in high performance computing is worth the cost and effort. It’s a matter of going from a workstation/departmental cluster approach to modeling in two dimensions to hitting warp drive with a fully realized 3D high-res model. The idea is that the implications for competitiveness could be big enough to trip the trigger in favor of a massive investment in HPC systems–but of course that kind of core warp-drive comes with some practical challenges on the software side.

The lab and IBM are providing software support to help raise code to the Top 10 system bar, which is the real emphasis on the effort. In many ways, the hardware is the easy (and expensive) part of the process–it’s the software angle that has LLNL researchers scrambling for solutions.

The BlueGene system presents a specific architecture framework that the code is being tweaked for, however. While it’s true that some of the code is tweaked to suit the IBM architecture, Streitz says in general, tackling the scalability issues making the hundreds-to-thousands of cores jump offers solutions that are machine agnostic.

When asked about the viability and usefulness of other architectures and approaches, including GPU acceleration (since that could be a prime fit on many of the modeling/sim applications), Streitz said that there is curiosity, but for now it’s a matter of getting businesses to new scale.

LLNL and its industrial HPC partners have already wrapped up six projects that cross the academia-commercial border via the LLNL HPC4Energy incubator program. The HPC Innovation Center is now connecting more users with on-demand proprietary access to Vulcan and throwing in the support of LLNL computer scientists and engineers to solve the pressing problem of dramatic scaling.

There are a number of companies that have already tapped Vulcan’s high core counts and the in-house software expertise, including General Electric’s Energy Consulting division, which will be amping up its PSLF simulation performance and capability and Bosh, which is targeting simulations of novel internal combustion engines.

These are large companies with existing, sizable clusters and in-house software resources of their own. While it might boost American competitiveness to have access to advanced modeling and simulation with Vulcan, smaller companies require the same opportunities. Streitz pointed us to smaller organizations that are also using Vulcan for the same purposes, including Potter Drilling, which will be improving their thermal spallation drilling processes with advanced simulation.

The system will still serve lab-specific needs through LLNL’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center as well as chew on Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration projects.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

Weekly Wire Roundup: July 8-July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

HPC news can get pretty sleepy in June and July, but this week saw a bump in activity midweek as Americans realized they still had work to do after the previous holiday weekend. The world outside the United States also s Read more…

Nvidia, Intel not Welcomed in New Apple AI and HPC Development Tools

July 12, 2024

New Mac developer tools will leverage Apple's homegrown chips, limiting HPC users' ability to use parallel programming frameworks from Intel or Nvidia. Apple's latest programming framework, Xcode 16, was introduced at Read more…

Virga: Australia’s New HPC and AI Powerhouse

July 11, 2024

Australia has officially added another supercomputer to the TOP500 list with the implementation of Virga. Officially coming online in June 2024, Virga is the newest HPC system to come out of the Australian Commonwealth S Read more…

NSF Issues Next Solicitation and More Detail on National Quantum Virtual Laboratory

July 10, 2024

After percolating for roughly a year, NSF has issued the next solicitation for the National Quantum Virtual Lab program — this one focused on design and implementation phases of the Quantum Quantum Science and Technolo Read more…

NCSA’s SEAS Team Keeps APACE of AlphaFold2

July 9, 2024

High-performance computing (HPC) can often be challenging for researchers to use because it requires expertise in working with large datasets, scaling the software, and selecting the best user interface. The National Read more…

Anders Jensen on Europe’s Plan for AI-optimized Supercomputers, Welcoming the UK, and More

July 8, 2024

The recent ISC24 conference in Hamburg showcased LUMI and other leadership-class supercomputers co-funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU), including three of the 10 highest-ranking Top500 systems, but some other ne Read more…

Shutterstock 2203611339

NSF Issues Next Solicitation and More Detail on National Quantum Virtual Laboratory

July 10, 2024

After percolating for roughly a year, NSF has issued the next solicitation for the National Quantum Virtual Lab program — this one focused on design and imple Read more…

NCSA’s SEAS Team Keeps APACE of AlphaFold2

July 9, 2024

High-performance computing (HPC) can often be challenging for researchers to use because it requires expertise in working with large datasets, scaling the softw Read more…

Anders Jensen on Europe’s Plan for AI-optimized Supercomputers, Welcoming the UK, and More

July 8, 2024

The recent ISC24 conference in Hamburg showcased LUMI and other leadership-class supercomputers co-funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU), including three Read more…

Generative AI to Account for 1.5% of World’s Power Consumption by 2029

July 8, 2024

Generative AI will take on a larger chunk of the world's power consumption to keep up with the hefty hardware requirements to run applications. "AI chips repres Read more…

US Senators Propose $32 Billion in Annual AI Spending, but Critics Remain Unconvinced

July 5, 2024

Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, and three colleagues want the US government to spend at least $32 billion annually by 2026 for non-defense related AI systems.  T Read more…

Point and Click HPC: High-Performance Desktops

July 3, 2024

Recently, an interesting paper appeared on Arvix called Use Cases for High-Performance Research Desktops. To be clear, the term desktop in this context does not Read more…

IonQ Plots Path to Commercial (Quantum) Advantage

July 2, 2024

IonQ, the trapped ion quantum computing specialist, delivered a progress report last week firming up 2024/25 product goals and reviewing its technology roadmap. Read more…

Shutterstock_1687123447

Nvidia Economics: Make $5-$7 for Every $1 Spent on GPUs

June 30, 2024

Nvidia is saying that companies could make $5 to $7 for every $1 invested in GPUs over a four-year period. Customers are investing billions in new Nvidia hardwa Read more…

Atos Outlines Plans to Get Acquired, and a Path Forward

May 21, 2024

Atos – via its subsidiary Eviden – is the second major supercomputer maker outside of HPE, while others have largely dropped out. The lack of integrators and Atos' financial turmoil have the HPC market worried. If Atos goes under, HPE will be the only major option for building large-scale systems. Read more…

Everyone Except Nvidia Forms Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Consortium

May 30, 2024

Consider the GPU. An island of SIMD greatness that makes light work of matrix math. Originally designed to rapidly paint dots on a computer monitor, it was then Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…

Nvidia’s New Blackwell GPU Can Train AI Models with Trillions of Parameters

March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest and fastest GPU, codenamed Blackwell, is here and will underpin the company's AI plans this year. The chip offers performance improvements from Read more…

Shutterstock_1687123447

Nvidia Economics: Make $5-$7 for Every $1 Spent on GPUs

June 30, 2024

Nvidia is saying that companies could make $5 to $7 for every $1 invested in GPUs over a four-year period. Customers are investing billions in new Nvidia hardwa Read more…

Nvidia Shipped 3.76 Million Data-center GPUs in 2023, According to Study

June 10, 2024

Nvidia had an explosive 2023 in data-center GPU shipments, which totaled roughly 3.76 million units, according to a study conducted by semiconductor analyst fir Read more…

Some Reasons Why Aurora Didn’t Take First Place in the Top500 List

May 15, 2024

The makers of the Aurora supercomputer, which is housed at the Argonne National Laboratory, gave some reasons why the system didn't make the top spot on the Top Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

AMD Clears Up Messy GPU Roadmap, Upgrades Chips Annually

June 3, 2024

In the world of AI, there's a desperate search for an alternative to Nvidia's GPUs, and AMD is stepping up to the plate. AMD detailed its updated GPU roadmap, w Read more…

Intel’s Next-gen Falcon Shores Coming Out in Late 2025 

April 30, 2024

It's a long wait for customers hanging on for Intel's next-generation GPU, Falcon Shores, which will be released in late 2025.  "Then we have a rich, a very Read more…

Google Announces Sixth-generation AI Chip, a TPU Called Trillium

May 17, 2024

On Tuesday May 14th, Google announced its sixth-generation TPU (tensor processing unit) called Trillium.  The chip, essentially a TPU v6, is the company's l Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

IonQ Plots Path to Commercial (Quantum) Advantage

July 2, 2024

IonQ, the trapped ion quantum computing specialist, delivered a progress report last week firming up 2024/25 product goals and reviewing its technology roadmap. Read more…

The NASA Black Hole Plunge

May 7, 2024

We have all thought about it. No one has done it, but now, thanks to HPC, we see what it looks like. Hold on to your feet because NASA has released videos of wh Read more…

Q&A with Nvidia’s Chief of DGX Systems on the DGX-GB200 Rack-scale System

March 27, 2024

Pictures of Nvidia's new flagship mega-server, the DGX GB200, on the GTC show floor got favorable reactions on social media for the sheer amount of computing po Read more…

MLPerf Inference 4.0 Results Showcase GenAI; Nvidia Still Dominates

March 28, 2024

There were no startling surprises in the latest MLPerf Inference benchmark (4.0) results released yesterday. Two new workloads — Llama 2 and Stable Diffusion Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire