OpenSuCo: Advancing Open Source Supercomputing at ISC

By Tiffany Trader

June 15, 2017

As open source hardware gains traction, the potential for a completely open source supercomputing system becomes a compelling proposition, one that is being investigated by the International Workshop on Open Source Supercomputing (OpenSuCo). Ahead of OpenSuCo’s inaugural workshop taking place at ISC 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany, next week, HPCwire reached out to program committee members Anastasiia Butko and David Donofrio of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to learn more about the effort’s activities and vision.

HPCwire: Please introduce “OpenSuCo” — what are your goals and objectives?

OpenSuCo: As we approach the end of MOSFET scaling, the HPC community needs a way to continue performance scaling. One way of providing that scaling is by providing more specialized architectures tailored for specific applications. In order to make possible the specification and verification of these new architectures, more rapid prototyping methods need to be explored. At the same time, these new architectures need software stacks and programming models to be able to actually use these new designs.

There has been a consistent march toward open source for each of these components. At the node hardware level, Facebook has launched the Open Compute Project; Intel has launched OpenHPC, which provides software tools to manage HPC systems. However, each of these efforts use closed source components in their final version. We present OpenSuCo: a workshop for exploring and collaborating on building an HPC system using open-source hardware and system software IP (intellectual property).

The goal of this workshop is to engage the HPC community and explore open-source solutions for constructing an HPC system – from silicon to applications.

Figure illustrates the progress in open source software and hardware


HPCwire: We’ve seen significant momentum for open source silicon in the last few years, with RISC-V and Open Compute Project for example, what is the supercomputing perspective on this?

OpenSuCo: Hardware specialization, specifically the creation of Systems-On-Chip (SoCs), offers a method to create cost-effective HPC architectures from off-the-shelf components. However, effectively tapping the advantages provided by SoC specialization requires the use of expensive and often closed source tools. Furthermore, the building blocks used to create the SoC may be closed source, limiting customization. This often leaves SoC design methodologies outside the reach of many academics and DOE researchers. The case for specialized accelerators can also be made from an economic sense as, in contrast to historical trends, the energy consumed per transistor has been holding steady, while the cost (in dollars) per transistor has been steadily decreasing, implying that we will soon be able to pack more transistors into a given area than can be simultaneously operated.

From an economic standpoint, we are witnessing an explosion of highly cost-sensitive and application-specific IoT (internet of things) devices. The developers of these devices face a stark choice: spend millions on a commercial license for processors and other IP or face the significant risk and cost (in both development time and dollars) of developing custom hardware. Similar parallels can be drawn to the low-volume and rapid design needs found in many scientific and government applications. By developing a low cost and robust path to the generation of specialized hardware, we can support the development and deployment of application-tailored processors across many DOE mission areas.

The design methodologies traditionally focused for use in these cost sensitive design flows can be applied to high-end computing due to the emergence of embedded IP offering HPC-centric capabilities, such as double-precision floating point, 64-bit address capability, and options for high performance I/O and memory interfaces. The SoC approach, coupled with highly accessible open source flows, will allow chip designers to include only features they want, excluding those not utilized by mainstream HPC systems. By pushing customization into the chip, we can create customization that is not feasible with today’s commodity board-level computing system design.

HPCwire: Despite pervasive support in tech circles not everyone is convinced of the merits of open source, what is the case for open source in high performance computing?

OpenSuCo: While many commercial tools provide technology to customize a processor or system given a static baseline, they generally provide only proprietary solutions that both restrict the level of customization that can be applied, as well as increase the cost of production. This cost is of greatest importance to low-volume or highly specialized markets, such as those found in the scientific, research, and defense applications, as large volume customers can absorb this NRE as part of their overall production. As an alternative to closed source hardware flows, open source hardware has been growing in popularity in recent years and mirrors the rise of Linux and open source software in the 1990s and early 2000s. We put forth that Open Source Hardware will drive the next wave of innovation for hardware IP.

In contrast to closed-source hardware IP and flows, a completely open framework and flow enable extreme customization and drive cost for initial development to virtually zero. Going further, by leveraging community-supported and maintained technology, it is possible to also incorporate all of the supporting software infrastructure, compilers, debuggers, etc. that work with open source processor designs. A community-led effort also creates a support community that replaces what is typically found with commercial products and leads to more robust implementations as a greater number of users are testing and working with designs. Finally, for security purposes, any closed-source design carries an inherent risk in the inability to truly inspect all aspects of its operation. Open source hardware allows the user to inspect all aspects of its design for a thorough review of its security.

HPCwire: Even with the advances in open source hardware, a completely open source supercomputing system seems ambitious at this point. Can you speak to the reality of this goal in the context of the challenges and community support?

OpenSuCo: We agree that building a complete open-source HPC system is a daunting task, however, a system composed of an increased number of open source components is an excellent way to increase technological diversity and spur greater innovation.

The rapid growth and adoption of the RISC-V ISA is an excellent example of how a community can produce a complete and robust software toolchain in a relatively short time. While largely used in IoT devices at the moment, there are multiple efforts to extend the reach of RISC-V – in both implementations and functionality, into the HPC space.

HPCwire: What is needed on the software side to make this vision come together?

OpenSuCo: The needs and challenges of an open source-based supercomputer are not any greater than that of a traditional “closed” system. Most future systems will need to face the continuing demands of increased parallelism, shifting Flop-to-Byte ratios and an increase in the quantity and variety of accelerators. An open system may possess greater transparency and a larger user community allowing more effective and distributed development. Regardless, continued collaboration between software and hardware developers will be necessary to create the required community to support this effort. As part of the OpenSuCo workshop we hope to engage and bring together a diverse community of software and hardware architects willing to engage on the possibility of realizing this vision.

HPCwire: You’re holding a half-day workshop at ISC 2017 in Frankfurt on June 22. What is on the agenda and who should attend?

OpenSuCo: The ISC 2017 workshop agenda consists of three technical tracks:

Hardware Track

Sven Karlsson and Pascal Schleuniger (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet)

Kurt Keville (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)\Anne Elster (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Software Track

Hiroaki Kataoka and Ryos Suzuki

Anastasiia Butko (Berkeley Lab)

Xavier Teurel (Barcellona Supercomputing Center)

Collaboration Track

Bill Nitzberg (Altair Engineering, Inc.)

Jens Breitbart (Robert Bosch GmbH)

Antonio Peña (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)

Keynote Speaker: Alex Bradbury (University of Cambridge)

The complete agenda of the event can be found online at http://www.opensuco.community/2017/05/24/isc17-agenda/.

While many of the emerging technologies and opportunities surround the rise of open-source hardware, we would like to invite all members of the HPC community to participate in a true co-design effort in building a complete HPC system.

HPCwire: You’ll also be holding a workshop at SC17. You’ve put out a call for papers. How else can people get involved in OpenSuCo activities?

OpenSuCo: While we have long advocated for innovative and open source systems for the HPC community, we are just beginning to tackle this comprehensive solution and cannot do it alone. We welcome collaborators to help build the next generation of HPC software and hardware design flows.

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!

Is Data Science the Fourth Pillar of the Scientific Method?

April 18, 2019

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revived a decade-old debate last month when he said that modern data science (AI plus HPC) has become the fourth pillar of the scientific method. While some disagree with the notion that statistic Read more…

By Alex Woodie

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing the bounds of what's possible in business and science, in w Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Google Open Sources TensorFlow Version of MorphNet DL Tool

April 18, 2019

Designing optimum deep neural networks remains a non-trivial exercise. “Given the large search space of possible architectures, designing a network from scratch for your specific application can be prohibitively expens Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Bridging HPC and Cloud Native Development with Kubernetes

The HPC community has historically developed its own specialized software stack including schedulers, filesystems, developer tools, container technologies tuned for performance and large-scale on-premises deployments. Read more…

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer

April 18, 2019

Today, as part of our ongoing HPCwire People to Watch focus series, we are highlighting our interview with 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer. Michela -- the General Chair of SC19 -- is an ACM Distinguished Scientist. Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

At ASF 2019: The Virtuous Circle of Big Data, AI and HPC

April 18, 2019

We've entered a new phase in IT -- in the world, really -- where the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, and high performance computing is pushing Read more…

By Alex Woodie with Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Intel Gold U-Series SKUs Reveal Single Socket Intentions

April 18, 2019

Intel plans to jump into the single socket market with a portion of its just announced Cascade Lake microprocessor line according to one media report. This isn Read more…

By John Russell

BSC Researchers Shrink Floating Point Formats to Accelerate Deep Neural Network Training

April 15, 2019

Sometimes calculating solutions as precisely as a computer can wastes more CPU resources than is necessary. A case in point is with deep learning. In early stag Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

Intel Extends FPGA Ecosystem with 10nm Agilex

April 11, 2019

The insatiable appetite for higher throughput and lower latency – particularly where edge analytics and AI, network functions, or for a range of datacenter ac Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Doubles Down on Medical AI

April 9, 2019

Nvidia is collaborating with medical groups to push GPU-powered AI tools into clinical settings, including radiology and drug discovery. The GPU leader said Monday it will collaborate with the American College of Radiology (ACR) to provide clinicians with its Clara AI tool kit. The partnership would allow radiologists to leverage AI techniques for diagnostic imaging using their own clinical data. Read more…

By George Leopold

Digging into MLPerf Benchmark Suite to Inform AI Infrastructure Decisions

April 9, 2019

With machine learning and deep learning storming into the datacenter, the new challenge is optimizing infrastructure choices to support diverse ML and DL workfl Read more…

By John Russell

AI and Enterprise Datacenters Boost HPC Server Revenues Past Expectations – Hyperion

April 9, 2019

Building on the big year of 2017 and spurred in part by the convergence of AI and HPC, global revenue for high performance servers jumped 15.6 percent last year Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

France to Deploy AI-Focused Supercomputer: Jean Zay

January 22, 2019

HPE announced today that it won the contract to build a supercomputer that will drive France’s AI and HPC efforts. The computer will be part of GENCI, the Fre Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft to Buy Mellanox?

December 20, 2018

Networking equipment powerhouse Mellanox could be an acquisition target by Microsoft, according to a published report in an Israeli financial publication. Microsoft has reportedly gone so far as to engage Goldman Sachs to handle negotiations with Mellanox. Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Oil and Gas Supercloud Clears Out Remaining Knights Landing Inventory: All 38,000 Wafers

March 13, 2019

The McCloud HPC service being built by Australia’s DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) outside Houston is set to become the largest oil and gas cloud in the world th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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