On the eve of ISC 2017 and the next release of the Top500 list, Japan’s RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science has posted an extensive study by IDC that compares and contrasts international efforts on pre-exascale and early exascale plans. The study – Analysis of the Characteristics and Development Trends of the Next-Generation of Supercomputers in Foreign Countries – was contracted by RIKEN, completed last December, and posted last week on the RIKEN web site.
Much of the material is familiar to exascale race watchers but gathering it all in one place is fascinating and useful. RIKEN has made the report freely available and downloadable as a PDF from its website. It’s worth noting the report’s authors were formerly the core team of IDC’s HPC research group and now are members of Hyperion Research which was spun out of IDC this year. Despite the study’s length (70-plus pages) it is a quick read and the tables are well-worth scanning. Much of the focus is on the next round of leadership class computing supercomputers (pre-exascale machines) about which more is known but there is also considerable discussion exascale technology.
For supercomputer junkies, there’s a table for nearly every aspect. Below are two sample: 1) systems covered in this report and their current/planned performance and 2) memory systems either in use or planned.
There are many more tables covering topics such as architecture and node design, MTBF, interconnect, compilers and middleware, etc. A complete list of the 30 tables is at the end of the article and is a good surrogate for the reports scope.
Here’s the top line summary in an excerpt from the report: “Looking at the strengths and weaknesses in exascale plans and capabilities of different countries:
- The U.S. has multiple programs, strong funding and many HPC vendors, but has to deal with changing federal support, a major legacy technology burden, and a growing HPC labor shortage.
- Europe has strong software programs and a few hardware efforts, plus EU funding and support appears to be growing, and they have Bull, but they have to deal with 28 different countries and a weak investment community.
- China has had major funding support, has installed many very large systems, and is developing its own core technologies, but has a smaller user base, many different custom systems and currently is experiencing low utilization of its largest computers.”
As noted earlier, while the report breaks little new ground its comprehensive view of these leading 15 supercomputer systems and side-by-side comparison is a useful resource. The list of tables is below along with a link to the report.
List of Tables
Table 1 The Supercomputers Evaluated in This Study
Table 2 System Attributes: Planned Performance
Table 3 System Attributes: Architecture and Node Design
Table 4 System Attributes: Power
Table 5 System Attributes: MTBF Rates
Table 6 System Attributes: KPIs (key performance indicators)
Table 7 Comparison of System Prices
Table 8 Comparison of System Prices: Who’s Paying for It?
Table 9 Ease-of-Use: Planned New Features
Table 10 Ease-of-Use: Porting/Running of New Codes on a New Computer
Table 11 Ease-of-Use: Missing Items that Reduce Ease-of-Use
Table 12 Ease-of-Use: Overall Ability to Run Leadership Class Problems
Table 13 Hardware Attributes: Processors
Table 14 Hardware Attributes: Memory Systems
Table 15 Hardware Attributes: Interconnects
Table 16 Hardware Attributes: Storage
Table 17 Hardware Attributes: Cooling
Table 18 Hardware Attributes: Special Hardware
Table 19 Hardware Attributes: Estimated System Utilization
Table 20 Software Attributes: OS and Special Software
Table 21 Software Attributes: File Systems
Table 22 Software Attributes: Compilers and Middleware
Table 23 Software Attributes: Other Software
Table 24 R&D Plans
Table 25 R&D Plans: Partnerships
Table 27 Additional Comments & Observations
Table 28 IDC Assessment of the Major Exascale Providers: USA
Table 29 IDC Assessment of the Major Exascale Providers: Europe/EMEA
Table 30 Assessment of Exascale Providers: China 59
* No table 26