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!

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Net Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Researchers Test AI Traffic Monitoring Tool in Austin

December 13, 2017

Traffic jams and mishaps are often painful and sometimes dangerous facts of life. At this week’s IEEE International Conference on Big Data being held in Boston, researchers from TACC and colleagues will present a new Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

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 what has become an overwhelmingly two-socket landscape in the d Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Explore the Origins of Space with COSMOS and Memory-Driven Computing

From the formation of black holes to the origins of space, data is the key to unlocking the secrets of the early universe. Read more…

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercialization of quantum. This week, Microsoft took the next step in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Launches Commercial Quantum Network with Samsung, ORNL

December 14, 2017

In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, 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

Microsoft Wants to Speed Quantum Development

December 12, 2017

Quantum computing continues to make headlines in what remains of 2017 as several tech giants jockey to establish a pole position in the race toward commercializ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Iron, Soft, Data, People – It Takes an Ecosystem!

December 11, 2017

Cutting edge advanced computing hardware (aka big iron) does not stand by itself. These computers are the pinnacle of a myriad of technologies that must be care Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

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

Microsoft Spins Cycle Computing into Core Azure Product

December 5, 2017

Last August, cloud giant Microsoft acquired HPC cloud orchestration pioneer Cycle Computing. Since then the focus has been on integrating Cycle’s organization Read more…

By John Russell

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

HPE In-Memory Platform Comes to COSMOS

November 30, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is on a mission to accelerate space research. In August, it sent the first commercial-off-the-shelf HPC system into space for testing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

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