PNNL Launches Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation

By John Russell

November 13, 2015

With the recent launch of the Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation (CENATE), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is well positioned to serve as a nexus for evaluating technologies that will be foundational for extreme-scale systems – all within a first-of-its-kind computing proving ground. Funded by the Department of Energy Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, CENATE’s mission is to deliver concrete benefits to PNNL and to the broader technology research community.

The idea is straightforward: By creating a focal point for the evaluation of early systems technologies that too often are conducted between isolated research teams and technology providers, CENATE provides a needed research and development connection function. The intent is to productively impact the major advancements needed in computing technology and energy efficiency in the transition to exascale and beyond.

“It will be essential to engage a hierarchy of strategic partnerships and integrated methodologies to accelerate both numerically and data-intensive breakthrough technologies toward efficient, productive, high-end computing,” said DOE-ASCR Research Division Director William Harrod. “CENATE’s entire operations model speaks directly to this.” PNNL opened CENATE in mid October and will be spreading the CENATE message as part of a contingent of national laboratories at the DOE booth at SC15 next week.

CENATE is a natural progression of activities within PNNL’s Performance and Architecture Lab (PAL). In the last few years, PNNL used internal investments to create a state-of-the-art measurement facility. The laboratory affords accurate measurements of performance, power, and thermal effects, from device to system level. PAL has also developed methods and tools for modeling and simulating performance and power; researchers will be able to the infrastructure and tools to gain deeper insight into system and application performance and, hopefully, an improved ability ‘to design ahead.’

“Application workloads and technologies under investigation will cover many scientific domains of interest to the DOE,” said Adolfy Hoisie, PNNL’s chief scientist for computing and CENATE’s principal investigator and director. “CENATE facilities will be made available to the DOE laboratory community, and our findings will be disseminated among the DOE complex and to technology provider communities within NDA and IP limitations. Moreover, we will make the most of our industry connections to provide added technology evaluation capabilities, including early access to technologies, equipment, and knowledge resources.”

CENATE_graphicsThe CENATE Resource
CENATE is designed to provide a multi-perspective, integrated approach in its evaluation process, undertaking empirical analyses affecting sub-system or constituent components to full nodes and small clusters with network switches that are fully populated with compute nodes. Sub-systems of interest include the processor socket (homogeneous and accelerated systems), memories (dynamic, static, memory cubes), motherboards, networks (network interface cards and switches), and input/output and storage devices.

The CENATE core encompasses instrumentation, testbeds, evaluation, and modeling and simulation research areas that primarily will focus on workload applications of interest to DOE with the notion that the broader high-performance computing community can take advantage of synergies as they develop. Hosie emphasized the specifichow, when, and what type of evaluation mechanism’ employed in the CENATE pipeline will depend completely on where the technology of interest is in its life cycle.

“Within CENATE, we can take a concept, an early idea where a hardware prototype doesn’t exist and employ modeling and simulation,” he said. “At another stage of the technology development pipeline, very early technologies may be available for measurement in the Advanced Measurement Lab at device level, such as 7nm technology. At another stage of technology maturity a subsystem such as a novel memory board would be available for measurements in AML.”

In both cases – from early measurements to assessment of the impact of such technologies on DOE applications, systems, and power performance – research will be conducted using PAL’s modeling and simulation bag of tools. This measure-model-design pipeline is just one of many potential options that CENATE capabilities afford for steering future system designs and application mapping for optimal performance under the constraints of power consumption.

Tools to Grow By
Measurement instrumentation will provide detailed power information facilitated by PNNL’s investments in technical capabilities that already include the AML. These dedicated physical labs will enable rapid evaluations of component technologies, while evaluations at small and medium scales will feed the analysis pipeline toward modeling and simulation to assess the impact of technologies at large-scale and explore how the technologies may evolve in subsequent generations.

The testbed infrastructure features numerous workbenches—with room for more—that accommodate black box, or complete systems, with standard I/O devices, network connections, and external power meters that can be evaluated in a relatively short turnaround. In addition, there are open-box, or white box, systems where carrier boards are exposed and only include the essentials, such as CPUs, memory, and storage. These systems require a longer setup but also provide added power evaluation via external digital-to-analog converters and voltage probes. CENATE also can manage gray box, or single-component, evaluations that require specific carrier boards and coarse power instrumentation to examine. Gray box evaluation times will vary by system.

“CENATE will assist in preparing applications for future technology generations by assessing the importance of components and their impact on large-scale system deployments still on the horizon,” said Darren Kerbyson, CENATE’s lead scientist. “Ultimately, our evaluations and prediction processes will weed out robustness issues associated with early hardware that can be an imposing barrier en route to production.”

CENATE_graphicsCENATE leverages PNNL’s existing expertise in analytical modeling of performance and power of large-scale applications and systems, as well as work on adapting open-source, near-cycle-accurate system simulations for small scales. Hoisie and Kerbyson manage the center, and the evaluation area leads include Roberto Gioiosa, Instrumentation; Andres Marquez, Testbeds (scalability and new technology); Nathan Tallent, Evaluation; and Kevin Barker, Modeling and Simulation.

“To enable extreme-scale science and computing, especially as defined by DOE-ASCR, we need viable methods for more effectively examining the applications that pave the way to the new state of the art,” Hoisie said. “These evaluations also must provide accessible feedback in the form of useful data about performance and energy efficiencies. These data then will be employed to refine technology using co-design methods and additional optimizations. CENATE is a clear bridge that also aligns well with the current Executive Order for the National Strategic Computing Initiative.”
Browse News From SC15The long-term goal is for CENATE to get deeply enmeshed in the many computing projects funded by DOE for exascale and beyond. To that end, CENATE facilities will be made available to the DOE laboratory community via an instrument-like resource and time allocation to assure broad connectivity. A Wiki is already in development to facilitate rapid dissemination of results, within the confines of non-disclosure and intellectual property agreements with industry partners, as well as to provide a users’ forum for observations, suggestions, and general comments. Workshops, webinars, and onsite host visitors, all aimed at developing new testing methods and procedures, will further promote interaction and augment CENATE general expertise through contributions from experts within the HPC scientific community.

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!

HOKUSAI’s BigWaterfall Cluster Extends RIKEN’s Supercomputing Performance

February 21, 2018

RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution, recently expanded the capacity and capabilities of its HOKUSAI supercomputer, a key resource managed by the institution’s Advanced Center for Computing and C Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

Neural Networking Shows Promise in Earthquake Monitoring

February 21, 2018

A team of Harvard University and MIT researchers report their new neural networking method for monitoring earthquakes is more accurate and orders of magnitude faster than traditional approaches. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HPE to provide the DoD High Performance Computing Modernizatio Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Experience Memory & Storage Solutions that will Transform Your Data Performance

High performance computing (HPC) has revolutionized the way we harness insight, leading to a dramatic increase in both the size and complexity of HPC systems. Read more…

Topological Quantum Superconductor Progress Reported

February 20, 2018

Overcoming sensitivity to decoherence is a persistent stumbling block in efforts to build effective quantum computers. Now, a group of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) report progress in devisi Read more…

By John Russell

HOKUSAI’s BigWaterfall Cluster Extends RIKEN’s Supercomputing Performance

February 21, 2018

RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution, recently expanded the capacity and capabilities of its HOKUSAI supercomputer, a key resource manage Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

Neural Networking Shows Promise in Earthquake Monitoring

February 21, 2018

A team of Harvard University and MIT researchers report their new neural networking method for monitoring earthquakes is more accurate and orders of magnitude faster than traditional approaches. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fluid HPC: How Extreme-Scale Computing Should Respond to Meltdown and Spectre

February 15, 2018

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities are proving difficult to fix, and initial experiments suggest security patches will cause significant performance penal Read more…

By Pete Beckman

Brookhaven Ramps Up Computing for National Security Effort

February 14, 2018

Last week, Dan Coats, the director of Director of National Intelligence for the U.S., warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was likely to meddle in the 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, much as it stands accused of doing in the 2016 Presidential election. Read more…

By John Russell

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Food Industry’s Next Journey — from Mars to Exascale

February 12, 2018

Global food producer and one of the world's leading chocolate companies Mars Inc. has a unique perspective on the impact that exascale computing will have on the food industry. Read more…

By Scott Gibson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and 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

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

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T 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

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

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

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

V100 Good but not Great on Select Deep Learning Aps, Says Xcelerit

November 27, 2017

Wringing optimum performance from hardware to accelerate deep learning applications is a challenge that often depends on the specific application in use. A benc Read more…

By John Russell

SC17: Singularity Preps Version 3.0, Nears 1M Containers Served Daily

November 1, 2017

Just a few months ago about half a million jobs were being run daily using Singularity containers, the LBNL-founded container platform intended for HPC. That wa Read more…

By John Russell

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