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!

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

AWS Arm-based Graviton3 Instances Now in Preview

December 1, 2021

Three years after unveiling the first generation of its AWS Graviton chip-powered instances in 2018, Amazon Web Services announced that the third generation of the processors – the AWS Graviton3 – will power all-new Amazon Elastic Compute 2 (EC2) C7g instances that are now available in preview. Debuting at the AWS re:Invent 2021... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies participated and, one of them, Graphcore, even held a separ Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2021 Edition

December 1, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Running a 3.2M vCPU HPC Workload on AWS with YellowDog

Historically, advances in fields such as meteorology, healthcare, and engineering, were achieved through large investments in on-premises computing infrastructure. Upfront capital investment and operational complexity have been the accepted norm of large-scale HPC research. Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

Raja Koduri and Satoshi Matsuoka Discuss the Future of HPC at SC21

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Intel's Raja Koduri and Riken's Satoshi Matsuoka in St. Louis for an off-the-cuff conversation about their SC21 experience, what comes after exascale and why they are collaborating. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics (AXG) group, leads the team... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire