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!

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…

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…

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.” The newly announced SuperPods come just two years after the 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…

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…

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.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog 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…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... 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…

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…

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…

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…

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