NVIDIA Highlights GPU Progress on Titan Supercomputer

By Nicole Hemsoth

March 27, 2014

The GPU Technology Conference this week in San Jose offered plenty of material for the supercomputing set with a number of presentations focused on specific programming challenges for large-scale scientific and enterprise HPC applications. The Titan system at Oak Ridge National Lab tied together key themes through a number of the talks, which helped put massive-scale use of GPUs in better context.

Jim Rogers, Director of Operations at the National Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory described in detail how the 27-petaflop Titan system has been making use of its 18,688 NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPUs. Oak Ridge is able to track efficiency metrics through recent changes in the Kepler device driver and Cray’s software that allows for sophisticated reporting of GPU usage metrics for both memory use and scheduled work. Rogers used the data from these metrics to point to the some specific operational benefits to using GPUs over a multicore-only approach, estimating that their use of GPUs at such scale has offered over 5x the efficiency of CPU-only system.

titan_detailsThe efficiency and performance message seems to be resonating with an increasing number of users requesting allocations on Titan, says Fernanda Foertter, HPC User Support Specialist at Oak Ridge National Lab. In her GTC presentation about GPU interest and user needs on Titan, she highlighted the demand for GPU acceleration for a growing number of applications. Foertter was able to collect several perspectives from users of Titan about their experiences porting applications and making use of the accelerators and pointed to the role of acceleration for the future of exascale-class systems. Her presentation set the stage for a number of topics around GPU usage on Titan, particularly in terms of the coding support required for complex scientific and commercial codes.

Aside from details about general production and operation of the system, there were a number of users of the Titan system present to share experiences about porting and altering their codes as well as gauging performance against CPU-only systems. Among such users was Evghenii Gaburov, HPC Advisor at SURFsara, who described how his team was able to leverage Titan to simulate the evolution of the Milky Way on a star-by-star basis in just over a week. While he made no secret of the challenges in parallelizing an advanced hierarchical GPU tree-code for use on Titan, after some significant workarounds, they were able to redesign the communication strategy to maximize both the CPU and GPU use and allow their application to scale to over 8000 of Titan’s GPUs.

Others shared war stories about getting their codes primed to run on Titan and other GPU-powered supercomputers, including James Phillips, a senior research programmer at the University of Illinois. His team had already worked with the NAMD molecular dynamics code on Blue Waters and before they began to tap into Titan. Again, while there were significant software challenges, once the team overcame some of the core barriers of their legacy application using core CUDA 5.5 and Kepler features, they were able to improve their time to result—one that allows researchers to model the complete atomic structure of the HIV capsid.

Weather modeling efforts on Titan were a prime use case that opened the doors for researchers to talk about the use of GPUs at large scale to continue improving model resolution. Dag Lohmann, co-founder at catastrophe modeling company, Katrisk, described how his company, which was recently selected by Oak Ridge National Lab to use Titan for specific flooding events, was enthusiastic about the performance boost offered by GPUs. In addition to providing a great overview of catastrophe modeling in the context of global flood risk models, he detailed the challenges of getting their CUDA-based fluid mechanics code to run on the Keplers (in terms of code, data assimilation, data volume, etc). The end result of their work allows KatRisk to create probabilistic flood models and maps at high resolution.

tesla_cardAlso on the weather and climate front, Mark Govett, Chief of the Advanced Computing division at NOAA discussed the development, parallelization and performance of the NIM next-gen weather model for the Titan system, which will allow the weather agency to improve weather prediction accuracy. Specifically, Govett talked about NOAA’s experiences using OpenACC compilers—an important element since NOAA’s parallelization path has relied on a homegrown directive-based Fortran-to-CUDA  compiler to get the application ready to run at the full resolution across 5000 Titan nodes.

Others shared specific thoughts on code-related issues at Titan scale. For instance, Alan Gray, a research architect at EPCC at the University of Edinburgh described their work with a highly complex application that allowed his team to scale their soft matter physics code to over 8,000 GPUs on Titan. Specifically, he talked about the challenges and ultimate success of blending CUDA and MPI and shared details about their communication library, which can be adopted by others. Interestingly, with their code that supports bboth GPU and CPU-only versions, they were able to demonstrate a performance enhancement of 3.5-5x using the GPU variant against the same code running on fully utilized CPUs.

More researchers, including Mathias Wagner, from Bielfeld University and Indiana University, shared how GPUs are advancing quantum chromodynamics following his team’s preparation of complex code for Titan via the QUDA library. In a similar vein, Justin Foley, a developer at Microway and NVIDIA, described QUDA in more detail for the same research area, which rounded out the picture for Lattice Quantm Chromodynamics on Titan GPUs.

Researchers from GE Global were on hand as well to talk about scaling their codes to meet the GPU capabilities on Titan for gas turbine modeling and accelerating three-body molecular dynamics codes and others shared details about scaling to Titan heights for seismic and medical research applications.

On the code front, OpenACC was a hot topic among the HPC set. Rob Farber did an excellent job of highlighting some of the key trends in programming and optimizing for GPUs at large scale. He presented on new results that extend machine learning and big data analysis to 13 petaflops average sustained performance across 16,384 GPUs on Titan—a very popular topic.

As we noted earlier in the week, this GTC event didn’t seem to emphasize the gaming and entertainment crowd. The focus on large-scale analytics, cognitive computing, computer vision and of course, scientific computing were top of the charts in terms of sessions and posters. Jack Wells from Oak Ridge, who chaired the “Extreme Scale Supercomputing with the Titan Supercomputer” series for GTC was able to gather a representative sample of leading researchers to put real-world use and challenge context into the Titan story.

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!

IBM Touts OpenPOWER Ecosystem, Announces New Customers, Products for AI and Hyperscale

March 20, 2018

At SC17 in Denver four months ago, Ken King, GM, OpenPOWER, IBM Systems Group, told a somewhat jaundiced trio of journalists that 2018 would, finally, after several years of expectations, be the year OpenPOWER and IBM’ Read more…

By Doug Black

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 scientists the ability to use machine learning to identify e Read more…

By Rob Farber

Mellanox Reacts to Activist Investor Pressures in Letter to Shareholders

March 16, 2018

Activist investor Starboard Value has been exerting pressure on Mellanox Technologies to increase its returns. In response, the high-performance networking company on Monday, March 12, published a letter to shareholders outlining its proposal for a May 2018 extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders and highlighting its long-term growth strategy and focus on operating margin improvement. Read more…

By Staff

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Harness the Full Power of HPC Servers with an Effective Cooling Approach

High performance computing (HPC) innovation is rapidly transforming the way we operate – with an onslaught of cutting-edge technologies designed to optimize applications and workloads, increase productivity, and enable better business outcomes. Read more…

Quantum Computing vs. Our ‘Caveman Newtonian Brain’: Why Quantum Is So Hard

March 15, 2018

Quantum is coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon enough. Within 10 to 12 years, we’re told, special-purpose quantum systems will enter the commercial realm. Assuming this happens, we can also assume that quantum will, over extended time, become increasingly general purpose as it delivers mind-blowing power. Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Touts OpenPOWER Ecosystem, Announces New Customers, Products for AI and Hyperscale

March 20, 2018

At SC17 in Denver four months ago, Ken King, GM, OpenPOWER, IBM Systems Group, told a somewhat jaundiced trio of journalists that 2018 would, finally, after sev Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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

Stephen Hawking, Legendary Scientist, Dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England, in the early morning of March 14; he was 76. Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking was an English theo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hyperion Tackles Elusive Quantum Computing Landscape

March 13, 2018

Quantum computing - exciting and off-putting all at once - is a kaleidoscope of technology and market questions whose shapes and positions are far from settled. Read more…

By John Russell

Part Two: Navigating Life Sciences Choppy HPC Waters in 2018

March 8, 2018

2017 was not necessarily the best year to build a large HPC system for life sciences say Ari Berman, VP and GM of consulting services, and Aaron Gardner, direct Read more…

By John Russell

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

SciNet Launches Niagara, Canada’s Fastest Supercomputer

March 5, 2018

SciNet and the University of Toronto today unveiled "Niagara," Canada's most-powerful supercomputer, comprising 1,500 dense Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 high-perfor Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

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

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

V100 Good but not Great on Select Deep Learning Aps, Says Xcelerit

November 27, 2017

Wringing optimum performance from hardware to accelerate deep learning applications is a challenge that often depends on the specific application in use. A benc Read more…

By John Russell

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

AMD Wins Another: Baidu to Deploy EPYC on Single Socket Servers

December 13, 2017

When AMD introduced its EPYC chip line in June, the company said a portion of the line was specifically designed to re-invigorate a single socket segment in wha Read more…

By John Russell

World Record: Quantum Computer with 46 Qubits Simulated

December 18, 2017

Scientists from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre have set a new world record. Together with researchers from Wuhan University and the University of Groningen, Read more…

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

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