IBM Launches PowerAI Suite Optimized for its Highest Performing Server

By John Russell

November 14, 2016

Last year at SC15, IBM offered its vision of an accelerator-assisted computing paradigm enabled by the OpenPOWER ecosystem of diverse partners and focused on cognitive computing as the key application driver. Since then, Big Blue has been busily productizing the vision and today announced PowerAI, a suite of artificial intelligence (AI) tools optimized for IBM’s high-end server (S822LC for HPC) that features the new Power8+ chip with NVIDIA’s NVLink, and is one of very few systems – perhaps the only – shipping with NVIDIA’s Pascal P100 GPU.

Like others, IBM’s view of HPC is taking a distinct AI and enterprise slant. “People say HPC but they really mean two things, the workload and the infrastructure. We are seeing the traditional scientific computing workloads, but we are also seeing other workloads show up, particular in the enterprise. These are driving the next generation of HPC infrastructure, things like accelerated databases, machine learning and deep learning. That’s essentially saying the same infrastructure we’re using for advanced scale computing is now being used for AI and advanced analytics,” said Sumit Gupta, VP, high-performance and analytics, IBM.

SC, of course, is a shotgun of product and technology announcements and interestingly Intel is expected to announced its own AI productizing efforts and plans later in the week. Both industry heavyweights seem to believe the era of AI, writ large, has arrived. IBM, of course has been delivering that message strongly for a while with IBM Watson being the most visible expression. PowerAI, developed with NVIDIA, just the latest milestone in the IBM AI roadmap.

Says Gupta, “PowerAI in my opinion is a huge step forward to democratizing AI and deep learning for the enterprise. That’s the real value here. We are making it much easier, more broadly, for the average enterprise to be able to deploy these deep learning frameworks for their use cases.”

IBM characterizes PowerAI as a hardware-software solution that “provides more than 2X performance over comparable servers with 4 GPUs running AlexNet with Caffe. The same 4-GPU Power-based configuration running Alexnet with BVLC Caffe can also outperform 8 M40 GPU-based x86 configurations, making it the world’s fastest commercially available enterprise systems platform on two versions of a key deep learning framework.”

Caffe, of course, is a widely used deep learning framework developed by Berkeley Vision and Learning Center (BVLC) and one of the most popular deep learning community applications. Caffe is one of five deep learning software frameworks available in the IBM PowerAI toolkit. The toolkit leverages GPUDL libraries including cuDNN, cuBLAS and NCCL as part of NVIDIA SDKs to deliver multi-GPU acceleration on IBM servers. IBM PowerAI is available now at no charge to customers of IBM’s Power S822LC for HPC server. PowerAI is designed to run on a single S822LC server and also to scale to large scale supercomputing clusters.

ibm-powerai-suite

AI, of course, has two distinct elements, training the networks and deploying the solutions. “PowerAI is focused on the training of the computer model not the production. The training is where it’s compute intensive. Inference in many cases can be done on your cell phone or you mobile device. It’s pretty light. If we fast forward a few years inferencing will increasingly be done on the client side device or the edge device and less in the datacenter,” says Gupta.

IBM has engaged HPC cloud specialist Nimbix to offer both its high-end server and PowerAI. Gupta notes many young and start-up companies are interested in AI (in all of its guises) but have neither the technical nor financial resources to take the deep learning plunge.

Nimbix has built out a cluster of these IBM Power servers with the latest power8, NVLink, and P100 GPUs. The other aspect of this is they have used an InfiniBand as the connecting all these servers together so it is truly sort of an HPC cloud and they offer bare metal access to the servers. This is ideal for HPC and deep learning applications and this is right now,” he says.

More broadly IBM says traction has been steadily growing for its Power line of products. The hardware pairing for PowerAI, the IBM Power S822LC, was launched in early September and Gupta says demand has been robust.

Rack of IBM S822LC/HPC Servers
Rack of IBM S822LC/HPC Servers

Here’s a provided by IBM of client uses for the new IBM Power S822LC for HPC:

  • Human Brain Project – In support of the Human Brain Project, a research project funded by the European Commission to advance understanding of the human brain, IBM, NVIDIA and the Juelich Supercomputing Centre delivered a pilot system as part of the Pre-Commercial Procurement process. Called JURON, the new supercomputer leverages Power S822LC for HPC systems.
  • Cloud provider Nimbix – HPC cloud platform provider, Nimbix expanded its cloud supercomputing offeringsthis month, putting IBM Power S822LC for HPC systems in the hands of developers and data scientists to achieve unprecedented performance.
  • City of Yachay, Ecuador – Ecuador’s new “City of Knowledge,” Yachay, is a planned city in Ecuador designed to push the nation’s economy away from commodities and towards knowledge-based innovation. The city announced last week it is using a cluster of Power S822LC servers to build the country’s first supercomputer for the purpose of creating new forms of energy, predict climates, and be a pioneer in food genomics.
  • SC3 Electronics – A leading cloud supercomputing center in Turkey, announced the company is creating the largest HPC cluster in the Middle East and North Africa region based on Power S822LC for HPC servers.
  • Multinational retail corporation – One of the world’s largest retailers has built a cluster consisting of dozens of S822LC servers to maximize revenue through precision marketing and real-time inventory management.

Other evidence of Power’s traction is the porting of prominent HPC applications to Power8 CPU says Gupta (table below).

“Nine of the top ten applications are available now on power or coming soon including for example Ansys, Gaussian, GROMACS, and NAMD. This is a reflection of the fact that many of these applications used to be supported on Power several years ago. So reviving that was relatively easy for the application provider, but it is also a reflection of the fact that we see pretty good momentum in the market and some large deployment with the new power HPC servers,” he says.

apps-on-ibm-power

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!

Red Hat’s Disruption of CentOS Unleashes Storm of Dissent

January 22, 2021

Five weeks after angering much of the CentOS Linux developer community by unveiling controversial changes to the no-cost CentOS operating system, Red Hat has unveiled alternatives for affected users that give them severa Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

China Unveils First 7nm Chip: Big Island

January 22, 2021

Shanghai Tianshu Zhaoxin Semiconductor Co. is claiming China’s first 7-nanometer chip, described as a leading-edge, general-purpose cloud computing chip based on a proprietary GPU architecture. Dubbed “Big Island Read more…

By George Leopold

HiPEAC Keynote: In-Memory Computing Steps Closer to Practical Reality

January 21, 2021

Pursuit of in-memory computing has long been an active area with recent progress showing promise. Just how in-memory computing works, how close it is to practical application, and what are some of the key opportunities a Read more…

By John Russell

HiPEAC’s Vision for a New Cyber Era, a ‘Continuum of Computing’

January 21, 2021

Earlier this week (Jan. 19), HiPEAC — the European Network on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation — published the 8th edition of the HiPEAC Vision, detailing an increasingly interconnected computing landscape where complex tasks are carried out across multiple... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputers Assist Hunt for Mysterious Axion Particle

January 21, 2021

In the 1970s, scientists theorized the existence of axions: particles born in the hearts of stars that, when exposed to a magnetic field, become light particles, and which may even comprise dark matter. To date, however, Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Fire Dynamics Simulation CFD workflow on AWS

Modeling fires is key for many industries, from the design of new buildings, defining evacuation procedures for trains, planes and ships, and even the spread of wildfires. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Intel Keynote Address

Intel is the foundation of HPC – from the workstation to the cloud to the backbone of the Top500. At SC20, Intel’s Trish Damkroger, VP and GM of high performance computing, addresses the audience to show how Intel and its partners are building the future of HPC today, through hardware and software technologies that accelerate the broad deployment of advanced HPC systems. Read more…

Researchers Train Fluid Dynamics Neural Networks on Supercomputers

January 21, 2021

Fluid dynamics simulations are critical for applications ranging from wind turbine design to aircraft optimization. Running these simulations through direct numerical simulations, however, is computationally costly. Many Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Red Hat’s Disruption of CentOS Unleashes Storm of Dissent

January 22, 2021

Five weeks after angering much of the CentOS Linux developer community by unveiling controversial changes to the no-cost CentOS operating system, Red Hat has un Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

HiPEAC Keynote: In-Memory Computing Steps Closer to Practical Reality

January 21, 2021

Pursuit of in-memory computing has long been an active area with recent progress showing promise. Just how in-memory computing works, how close it is to practic Read more…

By John Russell

HiPEAC’s Vision for a New Cyber Era, a ‘Continuum of Computing’

January 21, 2021

Earlier this week (Jan. 19), HiPEAC — the European Network on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation — published the 8th edition of the HiPEAC Vision, detailing an increasingly interconnected computing landscape where complex tasks are carried out across multiple... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By Oliver Peckham

President-elect Biden Taps Eric Lander and Deep Team on Science Policy

January 19, 2021

Last Friday U.S. President-elect Joe Biden named The Broad Institute founding director and president Eric Lander as his science advisor and as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lander, 63, is a mathematician by training and distinguished life sciences... Read more…

By John Russell

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By John Russell

Intel ‘Ice Lake’ Server Chips in Production, Set for Volume Ramp This Quarter

January 12, 2021

Intel Corp. used this week’s virtual CES 2021 event to reassert its dominance of the datacenter with the formal roll out of its next-generation server chip, the 10nm Xeon Scalable processor that targets AI and HPC workloads. The third-generation “Ice Lake” family... Read more…

By George Leopold

Esperanto Unveils ML Chip with Nearly 1,100 RISC-V Cores

December 8, 2020

At the RISC-V Summit today, Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies, announced a new, RISC-V based chip aimed at machine learning and containing nearly 1,100 low-power cores based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Esperanto Technologies, headquartered in... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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…

By John Russell

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By Doug Black

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…

By Tracey Bryant

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel Xe-HP GPU Deployed for Aurora Exascale Development

November 17, 2020

At SC20, Intel announced that it is making its Xe-HP high performance discrete GPUs available to early access developers. Notably, the new chips have been deplo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chipmaker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the European Union begin scrutinizing the impact of the blockbuster deal on semiconductor industry competition and innovation, the deal has at the very least... Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE, AMD and EuroHPC Partner for Pre-Exascale LUMI Supercomputer

October 21, 2020

Not even a week after Nvidia announced that it would be providing hardware for the first four of the eight planned EuroHPC systems, HPE and AMD are announcing a Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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