China Debuts 93-Petaflops ‘Sunway’ with Homegrown Processors

By Tiffany Trader

June 19, 2016

You may have heard the rumors, but now it’s official: China has built and deployed a 93 petaflops LINPACK (125 petaflops peak) Chinese-made supercomputer at its Wuxi Supercomputer Center, near Shanghai. A few days ago HPCwire received an advance copy of a report on the new system prepared by TOP500 author Jack Dongarra detailing the feeds and speeds and proffering perspective on its strengths and weaknesses.

Originally, Tianhe-2 was on deck to be China’s first 100-petaflopper based on a planned infusion of Intel Xeon Knights Landing CPUs. There was chatter that China could even be standing up two 100-petafloppers in time for the ISC TOP500 list publication, but the US embargo regulations restricting the sale of US processor technology into China pushed back the timeline. It was this trade restriction that spurred China to refocus efforts on its native chip technology. At the 12th Asian Connections workshop in Wuhan, China, in April, Beihang University Professor Depei Qian, who is helping steer the nation’s supercomputing roadmap as part of the 863 project, stressed the need for “self-controllable HPC technologies” on account of a “lesson learnt from the embargo regulation.”

During ISC 2016 this week, we expect more details on the fully-realized Tianhe-2 to be revealed as well as an update on the nation’s exascale plans now that Tianhe-3 has been named as the targeted first exascale system. (Recall that China has announced it will stand up an exaflops (peak) machine by 2020.)

Sunway TaihuLight System 2016
Sunway TaihuLight System computer room

The new machine, the Sunway TaihuLight system, achieved 93 petaflops out of a theoretical peak of 125 petaflops, giving it an efficiency of 74.51 percent. The run made use of 165,120 nodes using 1.2 PB total memory (7.2 TB of the memory of each node). The time to completion was 3.7 hours at an average power consumption of 15.37 MW. This gives it an energy efficiency of 6 gigaflops-per-watt, counting the processor, memory and interconnect network. The 28 MW cooling system from Climaveneta uses closed-coupled chilled water cooling with a customized liquid water-cooling unit.

As the new TOP500 champ, Sunway TaihuLight steals the top spot from Tianhe-2, which sat in the spot for three full years (and six list iterations), since China knocked the US Oak Ridge Titan machine off its perch in June 2013. Notably, China also stole list system share and performance share from the US (more on that to come).

The computational heart of Sunway TaihuLight is the SW26010 processor, which was designed by the Shanghai High Performance IC Design Center.

Each processor chip has four of these:

Sunway TaihuLight core group for node

Which come together like this:

Sunway TaihuLight basic layout of a node

The first figure depicts one core group (CG) connected to a Network on Chip (NoC). Each CG is composed of a Management Processing Element (MPE) and 64 Computing Processing Elements (CPEs) arranged in an 8 by 8 grid.

The second figure shows the domestically-made multicore SW26010 processor (which is one compute node of Sunway); it consists of 4 CPEs and 4 MPEs for a total of 260 cores. There are 4 Memory Controllers (MC), and a Network on Chip (NoC), which is connected to the System Interface (SI).  Each of the four MPE, CPE, and MC have access to 8GB of DDR3 memory. In the complete system, there are 40,960 nodes and 10,649,600 cores and 1.31 PB of memory.

As detailed in the report, “The MPE’s and CPE’s are based on a RISC architecture, 64-bit, SIMD, out of order microstructure. Both the MPE and the CPE participate in the user’s application. The MPE performance management, communication, and computation while the CPEs mainly perform computations. (The MPE can also participate in the computations.)”

It continues: “Each core of the CPE has a single floating point pipeline that can perform 8 flops per cycle per core (64-bit floating point arithmetic) and the MPE has a dual pipeline each of which can perform 8 flops per cycle per pipeline (64-bit floating point arithmetic). The cycle time for the cores is 1.45 GHz, so a CPE core has a peak performance of 8 flops/cycle * 1.45 GHz or 11.6 Gflop/s and a core of the MPE has a peak performance of 16 flops/cycle * 1.45 GHz or 23.2 Gflop/s. There is just one thread of execution per physical core.”

“The MPE’s and CPE’s are based on a RISC architecture, 64-bit, SIMD, out of order microstructure. Both the MPE and the CPE participate in the user’s application. The MPE performance management, communication, and computation while the CPEs mainly perform computations. (The MPE can also participate in the computations.)

The custom-built Sunway interconnect uses PCIe 3.0 connections between nodes as part of the Sunway Network. The network employs three different levels: the central switching network at the top, the super node network in the middle, and the resource sharing network at the bottom. The bisection network bandwidth is 70 TB/s, with a network diameter of 7. MPI communication between nodes is 12 GB/second with latency of around 1 us.

The complete system spans 40 cabinets, each with 4 Supernodes, which comprise 256 Nodes. Doing the multiplication, this comes out to 40,960 nodes total and 10,649,600 cores. Each node has a peak floating point performance of 3.06 teraflops.

The system software includes Sunway Raise OS 2.0.5 based on Linux as the operating system. Dongarra’s report also mentions basic compiler components, such as C/C++, and Fortran compilers, an automatic vectorization tool, and basic math libraries. Sunway OpenACC supports OpenACC 2.0

The Chinese supercomputing leadership is targeting the new Sunway machine at four key areas: advanced manufacturing (CAE, CFD), earth system modeling and weather forecasting; life science, and big data analytics.

China has been called out in the past for putting hardware ahead of software development. China announced that is has (at least) three applications that are on the finalist list for the Gordon Bell Award, which will be announced at SC16. The accepted submissions include a fully-implicit nonhydrostatic dynamic solver for cloud-resolving atmospheric simulation; a highly effective global surface wave numerical simulation with ultra-high resolution; and a large scale phase-field simulation for coarsening dynamics based on Cahn-Hilliard equation with degenerated mobility. The report from Dongarra notes that all three applications have scaled to about 8 million cores, just under 80 percent of the total system.

In his report on the system, Dongarra acknowledged the magnitude of the accomplishment, pointing out the significance of the 93 petaflops LINPACK reaching 74 percent of peak and achieving a  6 gigaflops-per-watt.  “The Sunway TaihuLight is twice as fast and three times as efficient as the system it displaces in the number one spot,” he wrote. “The fact that there are sizeable applications and Gordon Bell contender applications running on the system is impressive and shows that the system is capable of running real applications and not just a stunt machine.”

However, as we know LINPACK does not tell the whole story. On the HPCG benchmark, Sunway TaihuLight reported only .371 petaflops, which is .3 percent of peak. Compare this with 0.580 petaflops on Tianhe-2 (1.1 percent of peak) and .322 petaflops on Titan (1.2 percent of peak). RIKEN’s K computer reports 0.460 HPCG performance, 4.1 percent theoretical peak.

“The HPCG performance at only 0.3% of peak performance shows the weakness of the architecture with slow memory and modest interconnect performance,” wrote Dongarra. “So for many “real” applications the performance will be no where near the peak performance rate.”

It’s a point the distinguished University of Tennessee professor has made before. At the 12th Asian Connections workshop, he cautioned that “peak and HPL may be very misleading” and that most applications will not achieve near this high-water mark.

There is also a question of China being behind the US in process technology. We are still waiting for that spec to be made public, but it was at one point expected that the next-generation Shenwei would be manufactured on 28-nm process technology. We will update that information as well as memory bandwidth and fabric I/O as it becomes available.

In concluding his report, Dongarra pointed to China’s strengths in standing up another number one system: “As the first top one system of China that is completely based on homegrown processors, the Sunway TaihuLight system demonstrates the significant progress that China has made in the domain of designing and manufacturing large-scale computation systems. The fact that there are sizeable applications and Gordon Bell contender applications running on the system is impressive and shows that the system is capable of running real applications and not just a stunt machine.”

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!

Multiverse Targets ‘Quantum Computing for the Masses’

January 19, 2022

The race to deliver quantum computing solutions that shield users from the underlying complexity of quantum computing is heating up quickly. One example is Multiverse Computing, a European company, which today launched the second financial services product in its Singularity product group. The new offering, Fair Price, “delivers a higher accuracy in fair price calculations for financial... Read more…

Students at SC21: Out in Front, Alongside and Behind the Scenes

January 19, 2022

The Supercomputing Conference (SC) is one of the biggest international conferences dedicated to high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. SC21 was a true ‘hybrid’ conference, with a total of 380 o Read more…

New Algorithm Overcomes Hurdle in Fusion Energy Simulation

January 15, 2022

The exascale era has brought with it a bevy of fusion energy simulation projects, aiming to stabilize the notoriously delicate—and so far, unmastered—clean energy source that would transform the world virtually overn Read more…

Summit Powers Novel Protein Function Prediction Work

January 13, 2022

There are hundreds of millions of sequenced proteins and counting—but only 170,000 have had their structures solved by researchers, bottlenecking our understanding of proteins and their functions across organisms’ ge Read more…

Q-Ctrl – Tackling Quantum Hardware’s Noise Problems with Software

January 13, 2022

Implementing effective error mitigation and correction is a critical next step in advancing quantum computing. While a lot of attention has been given to efforts to improve the underlying ‘noisy’ hardware, there's be Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

shutterstock 377963800

New – Amazon EC2 Hpc6a Instance Optimized for High Performance Computing

High Performance Computing (HPC) allows scientists and engineers to solve complex, compute-intensive problems such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), weather forecasting, and genomics. Read more…

Nvidia Defends Arm Acquisition Deal: a ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’

January 13, 2022

GPU-maker Nvidia is continuing to try to keep its proposed acquisition of British chip IP vendor Arm Ltd. alive, despite continuing concerns from several governments around the world. In its latest action, Nvidia filed a 29-page response to the U.K. government to point out a list of potential benefits of the proposed $40 billion deal. Read more…

Multiverse Targets ‘Quantum Computing for the Masses’

January 19, 2022

The race to deliver quantum computing solutions that shield users from the underlying complexity of quantum computing is heating up quickly. One example is Multiverse Computing, a European company, which today launched the second financial services product in its Singularity product group. The new offering, Fair Price, “delivers a higher accuracy in fair price calculations for financial... Read more…

Students at SC21: Out in Front, Alongside and Behind the Scenes

January 19, 2022

The Supercomputing Conference (SC) is one of the biggest international conferences dedicated to high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. SC Read more…

Q-Ctrl – Tackling Quantum Hardware’s Noise Problems with Software

January 13, 2022

Implementing effective error mitigation and correction is a critical next step in advancing quantum computing. While a lot of attention has been given to effort Read more…

Nvidia Defends Arm Acquisition Deal: a ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’

January 13, 2022

GPU-maker Nvidia is continuing to try to keep its proposed acquisition of British chip IP vendor Arm Ltd. alive, despite continuing concerns from several governments around the world. In its latest action, Nvidia filed a 29-page response to the U.K. government to point out a list of potential benefits of the proposed $40 billion deal. Read more…

Nvidia Buys HPC Cluster Management Company Bright Computing

January 10, 2022

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia today announced that it has acquired HPC cluster management company Bright Computing for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s bid to purchase semiconductor IP company Arm, which has been stymied by regulatory challenges, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that aims to expand... Read more…

SC21 Panel on Programming Models – Tackling Data Movement, DSLs, More

January 6, 2022

How will programming future systems differ from current practice? This is an ever-present question in computing. Yet it has, perhaps, never been more pressing g Read more…

Edge to Exascale: A Trend to Watch in 2022

January 5, 2022

Edge computing is an approach in which the data is processed and analyzed at the point of origin – the place where the data is generated. This is done to make data more accessible to end-point devices, or users, and to reduce the response time for data requests. HPC-class computing and networking technologies are critical to many edge use cases, and the intersection of HPC and ‘edge’ promises to be a hot topic in 2022. Read more…

Citing ‘Shortfalls,’ NOAA Targets Hundred-Fold HPC Increase Over Next Decade

January 5, 2022

From upgrading the Global Forecast System (GFS) to acquiring new supercomputers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been making big moves in the HPC sphere over the last few years—but now it’s setting the bar even higher. In a new report, NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) highlighted... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Nvidia Buys HPC Cluster Management Company Bright Computing

January 10, 2022

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia today announced that it has acquired HPC cluster management company Bright Computing for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s bid to purchase semiconductor IP company Arm, which has been stymied by regulatory challenges, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that aims to expand... Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Lessons from LLVM: An SC21 Fireside Chat with Chris Lattner

December 27, 2021

Today, the LLVM compiler infrastructure world is essentially inescapable in HPC. But back in the 2000 timeframe, LLVM (low level virtual machine) was just getting its start as a new way of thinking about how to overcome shortcomings in the Java Virtual Machine. At the time, Chris Lattner was a graduate student of... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Three Universities Team for NSF-Funded ‘ACES’ Reconfigurable Supercomputer Prototype

September 23, 2021

As Moore’s law slows, HPC developers are increasingly looking for speed gains in specialized code and specialized hardware – but this specialization, in turn, can make testing and deploying code trickier than ever. Now, researchers from Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana... 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…

Top500: No Exascale, Fugaku Still Reigns, Polaris Debuts at #12

November 15, 2021

No exascale for you* -- at least, not within the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) territory of the latest Top500 list, issued today from the 33rd annual Supercomputing Conference (SC21), held in-person in St. Louis, Mo., and virtually, from Nov. 14–19. "We were hoping to have the first exascale system on this list but that didn’t happen," said Top500 co-author... Read more…

TACC Unveils Lonestar6 Supercomputer

November 1, 2021

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is unveiling its latest supercomputer: Lonestar6, a three peak petaflops Dell system aimed at supporting researchers 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…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire