A Slice of Green with Accelerators On Top

By Tiffany Trader

July 1, 2014

On the heels of a successful ISC14 in Leipzig, Germany, last week, the latest Green500 list was just published, and once again the TSUBAME-KFC is the world’s greenest supercomputer with an energy efficiency of 4.4 gigaflops per watt. This system from Tokyo Institute of Technology broke the 4.0 gigaflops per watt mark last November, and it’s still the only supercomputer to do so.

Launched in November 2007, and now in its eighth year, the Green500 helps raise awareness for sustainable supercomputing by ranking the most powerful systems in the world based on energy-efficiency. Where the TOP500 list is a measure of pure performance, i.e., FLOPS, the Green500 list emphasizes energy-efficiency, using the metric of FLOPS-per-watt.

As with the TOP500 list, the Green500 has been moving toward heterogeneity in terms of the highest-ranked systems. On the current Green500 list, the top 17 spots are occupied by accelerator-based systems, which combine graphics processing units (GPUs) or coprocessors (such as Intel Xeon Phi chips) with traditional processors (CPUs). Of these 17, the first fifteen systems employ NVIDIA Kepler GPUs; the 16th system, Shadow, is equipped with Intel Phi coprocessors and Intel Xeon CPUs; and the number 17 system, SANAM, is accelerated with AMD FirePro S10000 GPUs operating in tandem with Intel Xeon CPUs.

Green500 list top10 June 2014

In the number one spot for the second time is TSUMAME-KFC installed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The supercomputer combines NVIDIA Tesla K20X GPUs with a specialized cooling system that immerses servers in an oil-based liquid bath. At 4.4 gigaflops per watt, Tsubame-KFC is about 20 percent more efficient than the runner-up Cambridge University’s Wilkes supercomputer, which runs at 3.6 gigaflops per watt. In third place is the HA-PACS TCA system at the University of Tsukuba, delivering 3.5 gigaflops per watt.

Up to this point, the listing is the same as the November 2013 iteration with the top three systems unchanged. Unlike the TOP500 list, which only had one new entrant into the top ten, however, the Green500 sees three new systems in this coveted grouping. One of these new entrants is SURFsara’s Cartesius Accelerator Island, comprised of 66 bullx B515 GPGPU accelerated nodes outfitted with Intel Xeon CPUs and Telsa K40m GPUs. The system entered the June 2014 TOP500 at number 421 with a Linpack performance of 153.6 teraflops. It has an energy consumption of 3.459 gigaflops per watt.

In fifth place is the Swiss system, Piz Daint, down one spot from the previous list. The Cray XC30 supercomputer, employed for advanced weather forecasting and other research endeavors, is based on both Xeon CPUs and NVIDIA K20x parts.

Rounding out spots 6-10 are systems from ROMEO HPC Center, CSIRO, a second machine from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, an exploration and production system from energy firm Eni, and an “unknown financial institution.” The CSIRO GPU Cluster, manufactured by Xenon Systems, moved from tenth position up to seventh position as a result of an upgrade that increased its energy-efficiency from 2.358 gigaflops per watt to 3.019 gigaflops per watt.

As was seen with the most recent TOP500, heterogeneity has infiltrated the top end of the list, but the hybrid approach has not yet permeated the rest of the list. Of the 500 systems, only 64 of them employ some kind of accelerator, relatively unchanged from the last list. There is little question about the energy-efficiency of the mixed processor strategy, however. The average energy efficiency of the accelerator-based group is 1.938 gigaflops per watt, compared with 0.743 gigaflops per watt for the homogeneous systems.

Before accelerators infiltrated supercomputing, IBM Blue Gene had a lock on power efficiency. Remember when Big Blue swept the first 20 spots on the June 2012 list? This power (Power) block is still there, it’s just moved down a bit. BlueGene/Q systems dominate 24 out of 25 spots, starting from position 18. Their energy efficiency ranges from 2.177 gigaflops per watt to 2.299 gigaflops per watt.

As for the current TOP500 chart toppers: Titan, the Cray XK7 installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the fastest supercomputer in the US, fell a few pegs on the Green500 from 35th to 43rd place with 2.143 gigaflops per watt. The world’s fastest super, China’s Tianhe-2 is sitting in 49th place on the Green500 with 1.901 gigaflops per watt – down from 40th place on the previous list. The six-petaflopper (Linpack) Piz Daint is the only system to make it into the top ten of both lists: sixth on the TOP500 and fifth on the Green500. With the stringent power requirements of the coming exascale era, one would expect to begin seeing more overlap between the two sets.

While there were a few changes from November, the June Green500 is in somewhat of a holding pattern, much like the TOP500, and this phenomenon prompted no end of speculation at the recent ISC conference. Is this the calm before the storm that’s anticipated for 2015 or is something else afoot?

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!

GTC 2019: Chief Scientist Bill Dally Provides Glimpse into Nvidia Research Engine

March 22, 2019

Amid the frenzy of GTC this week – Nvidia’s annual conference showcasing all things GPU (and now AI) – William Dally, chief scientist and SVP of research, provided a brief but insightful portrait of Nvidia’s rese Read more…

By John Russell

ORNL Helps Identify Challenges of Extremely Heterogeneous Architectures

March 21, 2019

Exponential growth in classical computing over the last two decades has produced hardware and software that support lightning-fast processing speeds, but advancements are topping out as computing architectures reach thei Read more…

By Laurie Varma

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Jim Keller

March 21, 2019

On the heels of Intel's reaffirmation that it will deliver the first U.S. exascale computer in 2021, which will feature the company's new Intel Xe architecture, we bring you our interview with our 2019 Person to Watch Jim Keller, head of the Silicon Engineering Group at Intel. Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Insurance: Where’s the Risk?

Insurers are facing extreme competitive challenges in their core businesses. Property and Casualty (P&C) and Life and Health (L&H) firms alike are highly impacted by the ongoing globalization, increasing regulation, and digital transformation of their client bases. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: TensorFlow, Buddy Compression, Intel Optane & More

March 20, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

GTC 2019: Chief Scientist Bill Dally Provides Glimpse into Nvidia Research Engine

March 22, 2019

Amid the frenzy of GTC this week – Nvidia’s annual conference showcasing all things GPU (and now AI) – William Dally, chief scientist and SVP of research, Read more…

By John Russell

At GTC: Nvidia Expands Scope of Its AI and Datacenter Ecosystem

March 19, 2019

In the high-stakes race to provide the AI life-cycle solution of choice, three of the biggest horses in the field are IBM, Intel and Nvidia. While the latter is only a fraction of the size of its two bigger rivals, and has been in business for only a fraction of the time, Nvidia continues to impress with an expanding array of new GPU-based hardware, software, robotics, partnerships and... Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Debuts Clara AI Toolkit with Pre-Trained Models for Radiology Use

March 19, 2019

AI’s push into healthcare got a boost yesterday with Nvidia’s release of the Clara Deploy AI toolkit which includes 13 pre-trained models for use in radiolo Read more…

By John Russell

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Oil and Gas Supercloud Clears Out Remaining Knights Landing Inventory: All 38,000 Wafers

March 13, 2019

The McCloud HPC service being built by Australia’s DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) outside Houston is set to become the largest oil and gas cloud in the world th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quick Take: Trump’s 2020 Budget Spares DoE-funded HPC but Slams NSF and NIH

March 12, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, released yesterday, proposes deep cuts in many science programs but seems to spare HPC funding by the Depar Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Wins Mellanox Stakes for $6.9 Billion

March 11, 2019

The long-rumored acquisition of Mellanox came to fruition this morning with GPU chipmaker Nvidia’s announcement that it has purchased the high-performance net Read more…

By Doug Black

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

France to Deploy AI-Focused Supercomputer: Jean Zay

January 22, 2019

HPE announced today that it won the contract to build a supercomputer that will drive France’s AI and HPC efforts. The computer will be part of GENCI, the Fre Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Move Over Lustre & Spectrum Scale – Here Comes BeeGFS?

November 26, 2018

Is BeeGFS – the parallel file system with European roots – on a path to compete with Lustre and Spectrum Scale worldwide in HPC environments? Frank Herold Read more…

By John Russell

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