New HPC Benchmark Delivers Promising Results

By Nicole Hemsoth

June 26, 2014

One of the undisputed themes at ISC14 was the continued speculation about how the Top500 Linpack benchmark will keep pace with evolving system and application demands. We have been following progress with the HPCG companion metric that Linpack co-founders Dr. Jack Dongarra, Piotr Luszczek (both at the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Lab) and Michael Heroux at Sandia proposed well over a year ago. Following a session today at the close of ISC by Jack Dongarra, we now have a clearer sense of how this tool might round out current rankings.

The goals of the new benchmark are to stress a balance of floating point and communication bandwidth and latency and to tighten the focus on messaging, memory, and parallelization. As the benchmark continues to develop, the team hopes that it will become easier to use and optimize as well as simpler to check results within. The goal is longevity—one of the key strengths of Linpack, which was taken 20 years of development and outreach to promote. Dongarra hopes it will have more relevance to a broad collection of important applications, all defined within a single number.

There are plenty of materials available for delving into the specifics of the benchmark, so we shall leave you to it if interested. For now, we wanted to report the first detailed results of the benchmark we expect to see far more of listed alongside the Top500 results. What one can see below, even without detailed kernel-level research, is how the differences between the systems look less dramatic when other considerations, particularly the local memory system performance and low latency cooperative threading, are given significant weight.

dongarra2

From an initial view, not only do the results appear a bit less dramatic, as noted previously, the differences between machines that today are profound, there does not appear much variation. However, if one considers from an outsider perspective what the original numbers might mean to those who do not follow supercomputer rankings, they might have seemed just as insignificant. The point is, the complementay benchmark is critical to vendors because it reflect their customer requirements. And if those demands are being met, it is vital because it means a more comprehensive approach all around to high end computing. That means scientific and enterprise benefit–it will just be a matter of time and communication to ensure this is accepted. It doesn´t happen overnight, as Dongarra has noted.

High performance Linpack is no longer strongly tied to real application performance, particularly for the growing base of HPC applications that are reliant on partial differential equations, says Dongarra. Further, he adds, designing a system with HPL at the forefront can actually lead to design choices that are not a good fit for the actual application mix and can add extraneous elements to the machine. The drivers for this complementary benchmark are already critical and the issues that make Linpack a faulty metric will become increasingly pronounced.

As Dongarra and team have reiterated since the creation of the new benchmark was announced, this will not replace or diminish the role of the Top500 as an important metric for larger trends in supercomputing. There are many advantages to Linpack, not the least of which is that it allows the community to see long-term trends. Twice per year, the world pays close attention to supercomputing, even if it tends to fall off the mainstream radar otherwise, because of the historical attention that is focused on the world´s fastest supercomputers. Outside of the trend analysis and wider recognition the list brings, Linpack is relatively easy to understand and run, it´s not difficult to check the results for site participants.

Even still, a great deal of the Top500 aspirations are fed by a benchmark that itself is 37 years old (the Top500 is over 20 years). Dongarra admits that it is being used as a marketing tool and that it is not feasible for machines to be based on a singular number. And with those limitations, when one considers the days spent running the actual benchmark, it just no longer adds up for users. And while peak performance numbers are sexy, actual usage of the machines does not live up to the hype with most systems achieving half or three-quarters (best case) of those benchmarked results. In the end, it constrains system choices for those looking to meet the benchmark and that is not useful–especially in the era of increasingly data-intensive problems.

Dongarra says more details will be worked out at SC during a BoF series. At this point, the team is considering a Top 50 while the early kinks are worked out.

For fun, and to honor the longevity of the benchmark, take a look at the Linpack mobile. That’s Jack on the left, and to the right, Cleve Moler, Pete Stewart, and Jim Bunch. Cool fellows then and now….

Dongarra1

Note – Please forgive any temporary punctuation or formatting errors. Your author is traveling post-ISC and it turns out that German keyboards are…special.

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!

Automated Optimization Boosts ResNet50 Performance by 1.77x on Intel CPUs

October 23, 2018

From supercomputers to cell phones, every system and software device in our digital panoply has a growing number of settings that, if not optimized, constrain performance, wasting precious cycles and watts. In the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about one of the great inspirational stories of these competitions. Read more…

By Dan Olds

NSF Launches Quantum Computing Faculty Fellows Program

October 22, 2018

Efforts to expand quantum computing research capacity continue to accelerate. The National Science Foundation today announced a Quantum Computing & Information Science Faculty Fellows (QCIS-FF) program aimed at devel Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Join IBM at SC18 and Learn to Harness the Next Generation of AI-focused Supercomputing

Blurring the lines between HPC and AI

Today’s high performance computers are helping clients gain insights at an unprecedented pace. The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and HPC can transform industries while solving some of the world’s toughest challenges. Read more…

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

Automated Optimization Boosts ResNet50 Performance by 1.77x on Intel CPUs

October 23, 2018

From supercomputers to cell phones, every system and software device in our digital panoply has a growing number of settings that, if not optimized, constrain  Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

South Africa CHPC: Home Grown Dynasty

October 22, 2018

Before the build up to the final event in the 2018 Student Cluster Competition season (the SC18 competition in Dallas), I want to take a moment to write about o Read more…

By Dan Olds

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

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

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

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

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

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

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

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

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

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

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

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

No Go for GloFo at 7nm; and the Fujitsu A64FX post-K CPU

September 5, 2018

It’s been a news worthy couple of weeks in the semiconductor and HPC industry. There were several HPC relevant disclosures at Hot Chips 2018 to whet appetites Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

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