Intel’s SC16 Barrage Includes AI, Broadwell, Lustre and More

By John Russell

November 15, 2016

Intel made a flurry of announcements at SC16 today. Artificial intelligence figured prominently with new offerings and portfolio details. (Intel held back some news for an AI day planned this Thursday in San Francisco.) There was a fair amount of strutting for Xeon Phi’s (Knights landing) and OmniPath’s (OPA) strong showing in the TOP500. A new Broadwell chip was announced. So was the Intel HPC Orchestrator, a proprietary version of the open source HPC software stack from OpenHPC, the Linux Foundation project that Intel helped launch at SC15.

In the pre-briefing press call last week, Charlie Wuischpard, vice president, Scalable Data Center Solutions Group, warned those on the line there was a fair amount of material to cover. Here are a few highlights:

  • Knights Landing. The latest Intel Xeon Phi processor was in nine new systems on the TOP500, including two systems in the top 10, with the Cori system ranking fifth and Oakforest-PAC system ranking sixth. Additionally, Intel was the prime contractor supporting the Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) in a top 20 system, the Argonne Theta system. (For more coverage see HPCwire article, US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy.)
  • OmniPath. Shipping for just nine months, Intel’s 100GB Omni-Path Architecture was deployed in 28 of the top 500 and “now has 66 percent of the 100GB marketaccording to Intel. TOP500 designs include Oakforest-PACS, MIT Lincoln Lab and CINECA. Intel says OPA is double “the number of InfiniBand EDR systems and now accounts for around 66 percent of all 100GB systems.”
  • Artificial Intelligence. Intel debuted a Deep Learning Inference Accelerator card; it’s a field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based hardware and software solution for neural network acceleration. It has an Arria 10 FPGA optimized for targeted topologies of convolutional neural networks and will be available in 2017.
  • intel-broadwell-sc16Broadwell. Intel introduced new Xeon processor E5-2699A v4 which becomes its fastest two-socket processor. The company cited the addition of the new top sku in the product line as evidence of its commitment to Broadwell.

Launch of the Intel HPC Orchestrator was not unexpected. Intel, of course, was a driving force behind creation of OpenHPC, which was formalized as a Linux Foundation Open Collaborative Project in June and introduced its first 1.1. version then. The straightforward idea is that providing an open source HPC software stack and associated tools will ease HPC deployment, particularly in the enterprise.

There were early concerns over Intel’s prominent role, and IBM has declined to join, but the stamp of Linux Foundation has eased worries somewhat. ARM is an enthusiastic member and has announced it would be supported in OpenHPC v 1.2.0.

OpenHPC says there have been roughly 200K downloads and 30K website visits to date. (See HPCwire articles, ARM Will Be Part of OpenHPC 1.2 Release at SC16; OpenHPC Pushes to Prove its Openness and Value at SC16.)

The Intel HPC Orchestrator is essentially a supported version of the OpenHPC stack with a few Intel optimizations and tools (see figure). For example, Intel has validated configurations for Xeon Phi and OmiPath. Cluster checker, formally part of the Intel cluster readiness product, is now included in Intel HPC Orchestrator as is Intel Lustre Enterprise edition. Wuischpard said Lustre’s use in nine of the top ten supercomputer demonstrates its traction and noted Seagate has struck a deal to adopt Intel Lustre Enterprise Edition over its own version.

intel-hpc-orchestrator

There are open source elements in Intel’s offering. “People may have a scheduler of choice and they have the ability to plug in a scheduler, so it (Intel HPC Orchestrator) is not completely hardened into a one solid piece,” said Wuischpard. “You can expect to see more from us around the software stack and software enablement in terms of not just delivering systems at these scales but particularly for work were doing at the top end of the supercomputing world.”

The AI announcements were among the more interesting. Indeed at SC16 this year, many technology vendors have pivoted to so-called AI as the clarion call. Barry Davis, GM, Intel’s Accelerated Workload Group, said Intel’s approach to AI is a departure from its past practice. “We are working on providing all the tools necessary to OEMs and end user customers to actually implement an AI solution,” he said (see figure below).

“We’ve augmented our data analytics acceleration library. We’ve also brought out Intel distributions for Python, which is a growing language for AI. Optimizing open frameworks is a huge area for us. One of the beauties of AI is most of the programming happens at a higher level on top of these open industry frameworks.”

At ISC, Intel introduced Intel Caffe and optimized one of the most popular AI frameworks in use today. “We are working on Spark, on Theano, Torch, etc., and we have one called the Neon framework which is actually part of our acquisition of Nervana which happened several months ago,” Davis said. Nervana, of course, is essentially full AI development platform.

intel-ai-portfolio

Intel plans to eventually offer AI solution blueprints, “We don’t have anything to talk about these right now but are working on reference platforms across many different industries once again focused on AI workloads.”

He briefly touched on Knights Mill, Intel’s first AI specific product first discussed back in August. “It is a variation of KNL and once again more to be said on 11/17, but what we are saying here is that it is a host CPU, bootable processor, with mixed precision performance for machine learning. What that means is we’ve augmented our capabilities for double precision with high performance single precision and other reduced precision formats for AI space,” he said.

The new Deep Learning Inference Accelerator, said Davis, has a full set of convolutional neural algorithms commonly used in things like image detection and fraud detection integrated that with all the libraries and other programming tools. He says it provides a four-fold performance per watt improvement over Xeon product.

Talking about the new Broadwell offering, Wuischpard said, “I know everyone’s familiar with the product Skylake, available next year, and many thought we weren’t going to be enhancing the current Broadwell or v4 line of products. There’s a couple of things to read in here. We continue to enhance the current product line. Every little bit of performance counts. And our customers are kind of driving us in that direction.

“The other notable thing is that it’s a good indication of the health of our 14 nanometer manufacturing process because as yields improve, as the manufacturing process improves, you can drive more performance out of the process. This is a good indication of that. So if you think of Skylake being on the same manufacturing process I think it’s a real promise in terms of what you can expect.”

Perhaps worth mentioning is Wuischpard’s assertion of Intel’s commitment to HPC and the developer ecosystem around it. “[In] the code modernization program, to date we’ve actually touched 2.5 million developers, trained 400,000 directly, 200,000 indirectly, and the number is growing,” said Wuischpard.

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…

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