EU Projects Unite on Heterogeneous ARM-based Exascale Prototype

By Tiffany Trader

February 24, 2016

A trio of partner projects based in Europe – Exanest, Exanode and Ecoscale – are working in close collaboration to develop the building blocks for an exascale architecture prototype that will, as they describe, put the power of ten million computers into a single supercomputer. The effort is unique in seeking to advance the ARM64 + FPGA architecture as a foundational “general-purpose” exascale platform.

Funded for three years as part of Europe’s Horizon2020 program, the partners are coordinating their efforts with the goal of building an early “straw man” prototype late this year that will consist of more than one-thousand energy-efficient ARM cores, reconfigurable logic, plus advanced storage, memory, cooling and packaging technologies.

Exanest is the project partner that is focused on the system level, including interconnection, storage, packaging and cooling. And as the name implies, Exanode is responsible for the compute node and the memory of that compute node. Ecoscale focuses on employing and managing reconfigurable logic as accelerators within the system.

Exanest

Manolis Katevenis, the project coordinator for Exanest and head of computer architecture at FORTH-ICS in Greece, explains that Exanest has set an early target of 2016 to build this “relatively-large” first prototype, comprised of at least one-thousand ARM cores.

He says, “We are starting early with a prototype based on existing technology because we want system software to be developed and applications to start being ported and tuned. For the remainder of the two years, there will be ongoing software development, plus research on interconnects, storage and cooling technologies. We also believe that there will be new interesting compute nodes coming out from our partner projects and we will use such nodes.”

In discussing target workloads, Katevenis emphasizes flexibility and breadth, echoing the sentiments we are hearing from across the HPC community. The goal for this platform is to be able to support a range of applications, both on the traditional compute and physics side and the data-intensive side. A look at the Exanest partner list hints at the kind of high-performance applications that will be supported: astrophysics, nuclear physics, simulation-based engineering, and even in-memory databases with partner MonetDB Solutions. Allinea will be providing the ARMv8 profiling and debugging tools.

Although the projects are still in the specification phase, they will be making selections with the aim of overcoming the specific challenges related to exascale. Areas of focus include compact packaging, permanent storage, interconnection, resilience and application behavior. Some of the design decisions were revealed in this poster from Exanest that shows a diagram of the daughterboard and blade design. Note that Xilinx is a key partner.

Exanest daughterboard and blade design

To achieve a complete prototype capable of running real-world benchmarks and applications by 2018, the primary partners are collaborating with a number of other academic groups and industry partners using co-design principles to develop the hardware and software elements. This is a classic public-private arrangement where academic and industrial partners join forces and industrial partners benefit by being able to reuse the technology that is developed.

On the technology side, packaging and cooling is a key focus for Exanest, which will rely on Iceotope, the immersive cooling vendor, to design an innovative cooling environment. The first prototype will employ Iceotope technology and there is the expectation that technology with even higher power density will be developed as the project progresses.

One of the primary criteria for the project partners is low-energy consumption for the main processor. They have chosen 64-bit ARM processors as their main compute engine. Katevenis affirms that having a processor that consumes dramatically less power allows many more cores to be packaged in the same physical volume and within the same total power consumption budget. “One way we will achieve scale is this low-power consumption,” says the project lead, “but another is by having accelerators to provide floating point performance boost to appropriate applications.”

As for topology, the Exanest team is discussing the family of networks that includes fat trees and Dragonfly topology. They will be linking blades through optical fibers that they can plug and unplug allowing them to experiment with more than one topology. Exanest will also be using FPGAs for building the interconnection network so they can experiment with novel protocols.

Exanode

Denis Dutoit, the project coordinator for Exanode, tells HPCwire the goal of that project is to build a node-level prototype with technologies that exhibit exascale potential. The three building blocks are heterogeneous compute elements (ARM-v8 low-power processors plus various accelerators, namely FPGAs although ASICs and GPGPUs may also be explored); 3D interposer integration for compute density; and, continuing the efforts of the EUROSERVER project, an advanced memory scheme for low-latency, high-bandwidth memory access, scalable to exabyte levels.

ExaNoDe_Figures_04-1024x768

Dutoit, who is the strategic marketing manager, architecture, IC design and embedded software division at CEA-Leti, notes that this is a technology driven project at the start, but on top of this prototype, there will be a complete software stack for HPC capability. Evaluation will be done first will be done on the node level, explains Dutoit. They will utilize emulated hardware first and representative HPC applications to evaluate at the level nodes, but after that, Exanest will reuse these compute nodes and integrate them into their complete machine to do the full testing and evaluation with real applications.

There will be a formal effort to productize the resulting technology through a partnership with Kaleao, a UK company that focuses on energy-efficient, compact hyperconverged platforms.

Ecoscale

Iakovos Mavroidis, project coordinator for Ecoscale, says that while there are three main projects, he sees it as one big project with Ecoscale dedicated to reconfigurable computing.

A member of Computer Architecture and VLSI Systems (CARV) Laboratory of FORTH-ICS and a member of Telecommunication Systems Institute, Mavroidis notes that the main problem being addressed is how to improve today’s HPC servers. Simple scaling without improving technologies is unfeasible due to utility costs and power consumption limitations. Ecoscale is tackling these challenges by proposing a scale-out hybrid MPI+OpenCL programming environment and a runtime system, along with a hardware architecture which is tailored to the needs of HPC applications. The programming model and runtime system follows a hierarchical approach where the system is partitioned into multiple autonomous workers (i.e. compute nodes).

ecoscale_framework

“The main focus of Ecoscale is to support shared partitioned reconfigurable resources, accessed by these compute nodes,” says Mavroidis. “The intention is to have a global notion of the reconfigurable resources so that each compute node can access remote reconfigurable resources not only its own local resources. The logic can also be shared by several compute nodes working in parallel.” To accomplish this, workers are interconnected in a tree-like structure in order to form larger Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) partitions, which are further hierarchically interconnected via an MPI protocol.

“The virtualization will happen automatically in hardware and it has to be done because reconfigurable resources are very limited unless remote access is enabled,” states Mavroidis. “The aim is to provide a user-friendly way for the programmer to use all the reconfigurable logic in the system. This requires a very high-speed low-latency interconnection topology and this is what Exanest will provide.”

Mavroidis explains there must be means for the programmer to access the system and at a higher-level the run-time system has to be redefined to understand the needs of the application so it can reconfigure the machine. He believes that in order to fully implement this, there will need to be innovation in all the layers of the stack, and also the programming model itself will also need to be redefined. The partners are aiming to support most of the existing and common HPC libraries in order to make this architecture available to most of the existing applications.

The main focus of Ecoscale is to automate out the complexity of FPGA programming. Anyone who has watched FPGAs struggle to get a foothold in HPC knows this is not an easy task, but the need for low-power performance is driving interest and innovation. “The programmer should not have to be aware that the machine uses reconfigurable computing, but rather be able to write the program using high-level programming model such as MPI or Standard C,” states Mavroidis.

On a related note, Exanest project partner BeeGFS has just announced that the BeeGFS parallel file system is now available as open source from www.beegfs.com. “Although BeeGFS can already run out of the box on ARM systems today, this project [Exanest] will give us the opportunity to make sure that we can deliver the maximum performance on this architecture as well,” shares Bernd Lietzow, BeeGFS head for Exanest.

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!

GTC21: Dell Building Cloud Native Supercomputers at U Cambridge and Durham

April 14, 2021

In conjunction with GTC21, Dell Technologies today announced new supercomputers at universities across DiRAC (Distributed Research utilizing Advanced Computing) in the UK with plans to explore use of Nvidia BlueField DPU Read more…

The Role and Potential of CPUs in Deep Learning

April 14, 2021

Deep learning (DL) applications have unique architectural characteristics and efficiency requirements. Hence, the choice of computing system has a profound impact on how large a piece of the DL pie a user can finally enj Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized i Read more…

Nvidia Aims Clara Healthcare at Drug Discovery, Imaging via DGX

April 12, 2021

Nvidia Corp. continues to expand its Clara healthcare platform with the addition of computational drug discovery and medical imaging tools based on its DGX A100 platform, related InfiniBand networking and its AGX develop Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fledged partner to CPUs and GPUs in delivering advanced computi Read more…

GTC21: Dell Building Cloud Native Supercomputers at U Cambridge and Durham

April 14, 2021

In conjunction with GTC21, Dell Technologies today announced new supercomputers at universities across DiRAC (Distributed Research utilizing Advanced Computing) Read more…

The Role and Potential of CPUs in Deep Learning

April 14, 2021

Deep learning (DL) applications have unique architectural characteristics and efficiency requirements. Hence, the choice of computing system has a profound impa Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fle Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPod Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire