Cray Adds GPU Powerhouse to CS Supercomputer Lot

By Nicole Hemsoth

August 26, 2014

The CS family of Cray systems was graced with a new addition today with the arrival of a dense, memory-loaded GPU offering that adds big acceleration to select HPC workloads.

The new CS-Storm, which offers up to 8 NVIDIA K40s per 2U server and a peak performance of 11 teraflops per Ivy Bridge-outfitted node, is set to push key applications that require more GPU scalability to new heights.

The system, which is based on the Cray CS300 super, is designed to keep the accelerators cool enough to operate at full speed. The 48U standard rack can accommodate 22 of the 2U nodes, which means that with 2 Ivy Bridges and the GPUs, users are looking at around 250 teraflops per rack or a petaflop of performance for a 4-cabinet purchase. Cray’s Barry Bolding told us that the company will release more information on future Intel generations for the host processor.

It’s not just about adding GPUs into the dense mix with this system, however. Cray has tuned the GPU workloads they’re targeting for maximum bandwidth and accelerator performance on the cooling and data movement fronts with a couple of notable features.

While these are air-cooled systems, as the graphic below shows, the emphasis is on cooling through front to back airflow to keep the GPUs humming without overheating or without having to run them at reduced wattage. In addition to airflow, this allows for expandability options since it will be possible to add future generations of accelerators into the box while still allowing the desired density and the ability to cool all 8 of the GPUs at the same time.

crayconfig

 

As you can see, these are also outfitted with more memory than the CS systems and features bandwidth-maximizing for these applications via the centered mothered with 2 CPUs and 4 GPUs on either side of the 2U configuration. Again, this aids in cooling and expandability but also note how they are running the PCI off each side of both sockets, which means they can run these through a PCI switch and split the PCI Gen 3s into 8s to run them at full bandwidth. While this isn’t a novel design necessarily, for the purposes of a system like this, it’s required.

csarch

“We’ve seen a number of customer requirements in the energy, high frequency trading, and government sectors as well as for a number of different use cases,” said Bolding. He pointed to other areas that are feeding demand for high-density GPU systems, including machine learning, seismic processing, and image processing.

Although pressed for a sense of pricing on the new CS-Storm supercomputer system, Bolding merely said that these are in early manufacturing and production and will be available for limited shipping immediately with volume shipping in Q4 of this year. He said that when compared to their CS system line in general, the GPUs will add to the cost of any configuration—meaning these are likely about the same cost of the air-cooled CS line, with the addition of the GPUs since aside from this addition and some of the software additions (OpenACC support and other GPU-based features) there isn’t a lot of custom engineering cooked in.

On that note, Cray is using essentially the same software environment one would expect with a CS300, but there are libraries that are GPU accelerated with adapted runtimes that will allow for GPU acceleration. While it’s not shown, as one would expect, they are carrying compilers that are OpenACC optimized and also supporting the expected Intel and NVIDIA software required for running accelerated workloads.

When Cray sets about designing a new product for a larger set of users, the company evaluates demand potential based on customer conversations and market data. Bolding says this is not a one-customer or custom designed product and that GPUs are a mature offering that is pushing customers to look to larger, more powerful accelerated systems now that they’ve had success with adding GPU nodes and tuning their applications.

“The CS family is a market-driven one, but it’s flexible, which means we can quickly design new form factor boards and server units. What we’ve seen is a growing demand for 8 GPUs and internally, we ran a business case on how big we think that market is see if it justified the development of a new offering,” said Bolding.

“This one was relatively new as a design,” he continued, “it was not in our portfolio before but we thought we could combine the hardware and software better than the competition.”

“Adding a GPU-dense, air-cooled option to the already-extensive lineup of Cray’s CS300 offerings will further expand the market for this standards-based cluster supercomputer product,” said Steve Conway, IDC research vice president for high performance computing. “IDC research showed that the proportion of sites employing accelerators and other coprocessors in their HPC systems jumped from 28.2 percent in 2011 to 76.9 percent in 2013, and GPUs are the clear leaders in this category. Cray has been on a roll, and ramped-up sales of its Cray CS300 line have helped.”

 

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!

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in 2017 with scale-up production for enterprise datacenters and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fine-Tuning Severe Hail Forecasting with Machine Learning

July 20, 2017

Depending on whether you’ve been caught outside during a severe hail storm, the sight of greenish tinted clouds on the horizon may cause serious knots in the pit of your stomach, or at least give you pause. There’s g Read more…

By Sean Thielen

Trinity Supercomputer’s Haswell and KNL Partitions Are Merged

July 19, 2017

Trinity supercomputer’s two partitions – one based on Intel Xeon Haswell processors and the other on Xeon Phi Knights Landing – have been fully integrated are now available for use on classified work in the Nationa Read more…

By HPCwire Staff

Fujitsu Continues HPC, AI Push

July 19, 2017

Summer is well under way, but the so-called summertime slowdown, linked with hot temperatures and longer vacations, does not seem to have impacted Fujitsu's output. The Japanese multinational has made a raft of HPC and A Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Servers Deliver High Performance Remote Visualization

Whether generating seismic simulations, locating new productive oil reservoirs, or constructing complex models of the earth’s subsurface, energy, oil, and gas (EO&G) is a highly data-driven industry. Read more…

Researchers Use DNA to Store and Retrieve Digital Movie

July 18, 2017

From abacus to pencil and paper to semiconductor chips, the technology of computing has always been an ever-changing target. The human brain is probably the computer we use most (hopefully) and understand least. This mon Read more…

By John Russell

The Exascale FY18 Budget – The Next Step

July 17, 2017

On July 12, 2017, the U.S. federal budget for its Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) took its next step forward. On that day, the full Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives voted to accept the recomme Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Summer Reading: IEEE Spectrum’s Chip Hall of Fame

July 17, 2017

Take a trip down memory lane – the Mostek MK4096 4-kilobit DRAM, for instance. Perhaps processors are more to your liking. Remember the Sh-Boom processor (1988), created by Russell Fish and Chuck Moore, and named after Read more…

By John Russell

Women in HPC Luncheon Shines Light on Female-Friendly Hiring Practices

July 13, 2017

The second annual Women in HPC luncheon was held on June 20, 2017, during the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The luncheon provides participants the opportunity to network with industry lea Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fine-Tuning Severe Hail Forecasting with Machine Learning

July 20, 2017

Depending on whether you’ve been caught outside during a severe hail storm, the sight of greenish tinted clouds on the horizon may cause serious knots in the Read more…

By Sean Thielen

Fujitsu Continues HPC, AI Push

July 19, 2017

Summer is well under way, but the so-called summertime slowdown, linked with hot temperatures and longer vacations, does not seem to have impacted Fujitsu's out Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Use DNA to Store and Retrieve Digital Movie

July 18, 2017

From abacus to pencil and paper to semiconductor chips, the technology of computing has always been an ever-changing target. The human brain is probably the com Read more…

By John Russell

The Exascale FY18 Budget – The Next Step

July 17, 2017

On July 12, 2017, the U.S. federal budget for its Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) took its next step forward. On that day, the full Appropriations Committee Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Women in HPC Luncheon Shines Light on Female-Friendly Hiring Practices

July 13, 2017

The second annual Women in HPC luncheon was held on June 20, 2017, during the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The luncheon provid Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Satellite Advances, NSF Computation Power Rapid Mapping of Earth’s Surface

July 13, 2017

New satellite technologies have completely changed the game in mapping and geographical data gathering, reducing costs and placing a new emphasis on time series Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia and Tiffany Jolley

Intel Skylake: Xeon Goes from Chip to Platform

July 13, 2017

With yesterday’s New York unveiling of the new “Skylake” Xeon Scalable processors, Intel made multiple runs at multiple competitive threats and strategic Read more…

By Doug Black

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a 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

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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