White House Launches National HPC Strategy

By John Russell and Tiffany Trader

July 30, 2015

Yesterday’s executive order by President Barack Obama creating a National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) is not only powerful acknowledgment of the vital role HPC plays in modern society but is also indicative of government’s mounting worry that failure to coordinate and nourish HPC development on a broader scale would put the nation at risk. Not surprisingly, early reaction from the HPC community has been largely positive.

“My first reaction is that this is a long needed recognition of both the critical role that HPC, including HPC at the very limits of what is possible, plays in science and engineering, and the tremendous challenges facing computing as we reach the limits of current technologies. The statement that advances in HPC will require a holistic approach, including algorithms, software, and hardware, is most welcome,” said William Gropp, director, Parallel Computing Institute and chief scientist, NCSA University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and co-editor of HPCwire Exascale Edition.

“Cray is excited to see the executive order creating a national strategic computing initiative and the focus it will provide for supercomputing. Supercomputing is critical to our national competitiveness,” shared Barry Bolding, chief strategy officer at Cray. “This executive order’s call for coherence between modeling and simulation and data analytic computing will spur needed innovation and improve competitiveness. We are in an era where the convergence between supercomputing and big data is changing our lives daily. Because of this convergence, we face technological challenges that will require sustained engagements between government, academia and industry and Cray sees this executive order as a very positive step in global competitiveness.”

“IBM commends this effort by the Administration to sustain America’s position at the forefront of advanced computing,” commented Dave Turek, vice president of high performance computing market engagement at IBM. “Doing so is vital not only to helping our country compete in the global race to innovate, but also to giving our researchers and scientists powerful tools to unlock new discoveries.”

“The NSCI effort is terrific news for the research community and the HPC industry,” stated Ian Buck, vice president of Accelerated Computing at NVIDIA. “Reaching exascale computing levels will require new technologies that maximize performance and minimize power consumption, while making it easier for programmers and researchers to take full advantage of these new systems to drive innovation. At NVIDIA, we’ve helped build some of our nation’s largest supercomputers, including the future CORAL pre-exascale systems. With NSCI moving forward, we are now poised to drive further technology advancements to help make exascale a reality.”

“Now, what we’re seeing in President Obama’s Executive Order is a major proof point of the importance of high-end computer technology in bolstering and redefining national competitiveness,” commented Jorge Titinger, president and CEO of SGI. “In the past, a country’s competitiveness and global power was defined by economic growth and defense capabilities. But now we’re seeing the advent of actionable technological insight — especially derived from the power of big data — becoming a factor of a country’s power.”

“HPC has become such a competitive weapon. IDC ROI research, sponsored by DOE, is showing that national investments in HPC resources can provide an extremely large return on investment on the order of over $500 dollars in revenue for each dollar invested in HPC. Industries like oil & gas, finance, automotive, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, healthcare are showing massive ROIs from their investments in HPC,” said Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president and executive director HPC User Forum.

As outlined in the executive order, the NSCI has four overarching principles and five objectives, both bulleted out below.

NSCI principles:

  1. The United States must deploy and apply new HPC technologies broadly for economic competitiveness and scientific discovery.
  2. The United States must foster public-private collaboration, relying on the respective strengths of government, industry, and academia to maximize the benefits of HPC.
  3. The United States must adopt a whole-of-government approach that draws upon the strengths of and seeks cooperation among all executive departments and agencies with significant expertise or equities in HPC while also collaborating with industry and academia.
  4. The United States must develop a comprehensive technical and scientific approach to transition HPC research on hardware, system software, development tools, and applications efficiently into development and, ultimately, operations.

NSCI objectives:

  1. Accelerating delivery of a capable exascale computing system that integrates hardware and software capability to deliver approximately 100 times the performance of current 10 petaflop systems across a range of applications representing government needs.
  2. Increasing coherence between the technology base used for modeling and simulation and that used for data analytic computing.
  3. Establishing, over the next 15 years, a viable path forward for future HPC systems even after the limits of current semiconductor technology are reached (the “post- Moore’s Law era”).
  4. Increasing the capacity and capability of an enduring national HPC ecosystem by employing a holistic approach that addresses relevant factors such as networking technology, workflow, downward scaling, foundational algorithms and software, accessibility, and workforce development.
  5. Developing an enduring public-private collaboration to ensure that the benefits of the research and development advances are, to the greatest extent, shared between the United States Government and industrial and academic sectors.

Many of the objectives echo plans already underway in the current Exascale Computing Initiative run by the DOE and National Nuclear Security Administration. This effort, however, seems broader and as the roster of planned NSCI participants indicates, it will be a huge undertaking.

Three agencies will lead: the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Also named are two foundational research and development agencies – the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The five deployment agencies identified are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An NCSI Executive Council, co-chaired by the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), will oversee NSCI activities. This council has been charged to “establish an implementation plan to support and align efforts across agencies” within 90 days and update annually. It’s well worth reviewing the relatively short full text of the executive order, which spells out in greater detail the roles and responsibilities of various NSCI participants.

Clearly making such an ambitious program work will be challenging.

“Ultimately, the success or failure of this ambitious effort hinges on the ability of the US Government to actively engage and include both the US academic and industrial sectors to help drive US gains in this critical field. Simply developing high-end systems to meet individual agency missions will not be enough; the project needs to foster a vibrant R&D as well as commercial HPC capability to ensure that the US can continue to build and market the most effective HPCs in the world,” said Bob Sorenson, now a research vice president for HPC with IDC but who previously served as a longtime senior HPC technology analyst supporting senior US Government policy makers on global HPC developments.

This program shouldn’t be about building the fastest and most powerful high-performance computer in the world, said Sorensen, but about establishing a broad-based ecosystem that can support the most ambitious US public and private scientific research agendas while helping the growing base of US industries that rely on these systems to design, test and build products – such as automobiles, aircrafts, and even specialty pharmaceuticals.

The devil, of course, is in the details and hopefully more will be revealed in the plan the NSCI Council is set to deliver before the end of the year.

On the technology front, the NSCI outline touches not only on familiar HPC challenges but also acknowledges the growing convergence of data-intensive computing with compute-intensive. Noted in the White House press release announcing the initiative is that “in the last 10 years, a new class of HPC system has emerged to collect, manage and analyze vast quantities of data arising from diverse sources, such as Internet web pages and scientific instruments. These “big data” systems will approach scales measured in exabytes (10^18 bytes)…By combining the computing power and the data capacity of these two classes of HPC systems, deeper insights can be gained through new approaches that combine simulation with actual data.” This recognition is drawing attention and approval.

“Importantly, the NSCI embraces the idea of big data and HPC convergence, something I believe is crucial to the future of computing – for scientific discovery, for national security and for economic competitiveness. Many of the tools and technologies for big data analytics and scientific computing are similar, yet the cultures and communities are largely disparate.  We must bring them together, for the benefit of both and for societal benefit. The NSCI will help do that,” said Dan Reed, vice president for research and economic development at the University of Iowa and an author of the recent ASCA review of the DOE’s Exascale Computing Initiative.

Reed also endorsed the multi-agency approach: “One of the NSCI’s key elements is interagency collaboration, with differential roles based on each agency’s unique strengths and capabilities. These include the development and deployment of exascale systems, research on new algorithms, software and enabling technologies (including post-silicon ones), and workforce development to address the critical shortage of computing experts. I’m also pleased to see the key role of NSF in science at the exascale (or extreme scale) is also specifically called out.”

As the executive order notes, for more than six decades, “US computing capabilities have been maintained through continuous research and the development and deployment of new computing systems with rapidly increasing performance on applications of major significance to government, industry, and academia.

“Maximizing the benefits of HPC in the coming decades will require an effective national response to increasing demands for computing power, emerging technological challenges and opportunities, and growing economic dependency on and competition with other nations. This national response will require a cohesive, strategic effort within the Federal Government and a close collaboration between the public and private sectors.”

We’ll see.

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!

HPC Career Notes: April 2020 Edition

April 2, 2020

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…

By Mariana Iriarte

AMD Epyc CPUs Now on Bare Metal IBM Cloud Servers

April 1, 2020

AMD’s expanding presence in the datacenter and cloud computing markets took a step forward with today’s announcement that its 7nm 2nd Gen Epyc 7642 CPUs are now available on IBM Cloud bare metal servers. AMD, whose Read more…

By Doug Black

Supercomputer Testing Probes Viral Transmission in Airplanes

April 1, 2020

It might be a long time before the general public is flying again, but the question remains: how high-risk is air travel in terms of viral infection? In an article for the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), Faith Si Read more…

By Staff report

ECP Milestone Report Details Progress and Directions

April 1, 2020

The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) milestone report issued last week presents a good snapshot of progress in preparing applications for exascale computing. There are roughly 30 ECP application development (AD) subproj Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Supercomputer Employed to Develop COVID-19 Treatment

March 31, 2020

From Summit to [email protected], global supercomputing is continuing to mobilize against the coronavirus pandemic by crunching massive problems like epidemiology, therapeutic development and vaccine development. The latest a Read more…

By Staff report

AWS Solution Channel

Amazon FSx for Lustre Update: Persistent Storage for Long-Term, High-Performance Workloads

Last year I wrote about Amazon FSx for Lustre and told you how our customers can use it to create pebibyte-scale, highly parallel POSIX-compliant file systems that serve thousands of simultaneous clients driving millions of IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) with sub-millisecond latency. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Supersonic Jets, Skin Modeling, Astrophysics & More

March 31, 2020

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

Pandemic ‘Wipes Out’ 2020 HPC Market Growth, Flat to 12% Drop Expected

March 31, 2020

As the world battles the still accelerating novel coronavirus, the HPC community has mounted a forceful response to the pandemic on many fronts. But these efforts won't inoculate the HPC industry from the economic effects of COVID-19. Market watcher Intersect360 Research has revised its 2020 forecast for HPC products and services, projecting... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Weather at Exascale: Load Balancing for Heterogeneous Systems

March 30, 2020

The first months of 2020 were dominated by weather and climate supercomputing news, with major announcements coming from the UK, the European Centre for Medium- Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Q&A Part Two: ORNL’s Pooser on Progress in Quantum Communication

March 30, 2020

Quantum computing seems to get more than its fair share of attention compared to quantum communication. That’s despite the fact that quantum networking may be Read more…

By John Russell

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Conversation: ANL’s Rick Stevens on DoE’s AI for Science Project

March 23, 2020

With release of the Department of Energy’s AI for Science report in late February, the effort to build a national AI program, modeled loosely on the U.S. Exascale Initiative, enters a new phase. Project leaders have already had early discussions with Congress... Read more…

By John Russell

Servers Headed to Junkyard Find 2nd Life Fighting Cancer in Clusters

March 20, 2020

Ottawa-based charitable organization Cancer Computer is on a mission to stamp out cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including coronavirus, by putting Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Kubernetes and HPC Applications in Hybrid Cloud Environments – Part II

March 19, 2020

With the rise of cloud services, CIOs are recognizing that applications, middleware, and infrastructure running in various compute environments need a common management and operating model. Maintaining different application and middleware stacks on-premises and in cloud environments, by possibly using different specialized infrastructure and application... Read more…

By Daniel Gruber,Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Julia Programming’s Dramatic Rise in HPC and Elsewhere

January 14, 2020

Back in 2012 a paper by four computer scientists including Alan Edelman of MIT introduced Julia, A Fast Dynamic Language for Technical Computing. At the time, t Read more…

By John Russell

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fujitsu A64FX Supercomputer to Be Deployed at Nagoya University This Summer

February 3, 2020

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu announced today that it will supply Nagoya University Information Technology Center with the first commercial supercomputer powered Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Conferences Are Being Canceled Due to Coronavirus

March 3, 2020

Several conferences scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, including Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) and the Strata Data + AI conference, have Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
ASROCK RACK
ASROCK RACK
AWS
AWS
CEJN
CJEN
CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
IBM
IBM
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Cray to Provide NOAA with Two AMD-Powered Supercomputers

February 24, 2020

The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week announced plans for a major refresh of its operational weather forecasting supercomputers, part of a 10-year, $505.2 million program, which will secure two HPE-Cray systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service to be fielded later this year and put into production in early 2022. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Exascale Watch: El Capitan Will Use AMD CPUs & GPUs to Reach 2 Exaflops

March 4, 2020

HPE and its collaborators reported today that El Capitan, the forthcoming exascale supercomputer to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and serve 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

IBM Unveils Latest Achievements in AI Hardware

December 13, 2019

“The increased capabilities of contemporary AI models provide unprecedented recognition accuracy, but often at the expense of larger computational and energet Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

IBM Debuts IC922 Power Server for AI Inferencing and Data Management

January 28, 2020

IBM today launched a Power9-based inference server – the IC922 – that features up to six Nvidia T4 GPUs, PCIe Gen 4 and OpenCAPI connectivity, and can accom Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Joins the Fight Against the Coronavirus

March 6, 2020

With the coronavirus sweeping the globe, tech conferences and supply chains are being hit hard – but now, tech is hitting back. Oak Ridge National Laboratory Read more…

By Staff report

University of Stuttgart Inaugurates ‘Hawk’ Supercomputer

February 20, 2020

This week, the new “Hawk” supercomputer was inaugurated in a ceremony at the High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS). Offici Read more…

By Staff report

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