OpenACC Shows Growing Strength at ISC

By John Russell

June 19, 2017

OpenACC is strutting its stuff at ISC this year touting expanding membership, a jump in downloads, favorable benchmarks across several architectures, new staff members, and new support by key HPC applications providers, ANSYS, for example. It is also holding its third user group meeting at the conference and a number of other activities including a BoF. That seems like significant progress in its rivalry with OpenMP.

Parallel programing models, of course, have become de rigueur to get the most from HPC systems, especially with the rise of manycore, GPU, and other heterogeneous architectures. OpenACC formed in 2011 to support parallel programing on accelerated systems. In its own words, OpenACC “is a directives-based programming approach to parallel computing designed for performance and portability on CPUs and GPUs for HPC.”

There are now roughly 20 core members – Cray, AMD, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Indiana University, to name a few. OpenACC reports downloads jumped 86 percent jumped in the last six months, driven in part by a new free community release that also supports Microsoft Windows. Interestingly, support for Windows which is a rarity in core HPC was very important to ANSYS according Michael Wolfe, OpenACC technical lead and a PGI staff member. The current OpenACC version is 2.5 with 2.6 expected to be available for public comment in the next couple of months.

As shown in the slide below, OpenACC has steadily expanded the number of platforms supported. It’s an impressive list although notably absent from this list is ARM. Before it ceased operations PathScale supported ARM and currently the GCC group (GNU Compiler Group) is working on OpenACC support for ARM. Leading compiler provider PGI, owned by NVIDIA, also has plans. “It’s no secret that our plan is to eventually support ARM and we’ll be using the same mechanism we used to support Power and so the compiler part is relatively straight forward. It’s getting the numerical libraries in place [that’s challenging],” says Wolfe.

Significantly, OpenACC is reporting rough parity with OpenMP for application acceleration on a pair of Intel systems and an IBM Minsky when compared with a single core Haswell system. (Reported systems specs: Intel dual Haswell – 2×16 core server, four K80s; dual Intel Broadwell – 2×20 core server, eight P100s; IBM dual Minsky – Power8+ NVLINK, four P100s; host systems for GPUs not listed. The application was AWE Hydrodynamics CloverLeaf mini-app.)

“You get almost no performance decrement on a multicore on the various systems,” notes Wolfe. OpenACC hasn’t yet benchmarked against Intel’s forthcoming Skylake. “We’re waiting on it. Obviously we need to re-optimize our code generator.”

Perhaps most telling, say OpenACC proponents, is the uptick in support from HPC application community. In its ISC new release, OpenACC reported it now accelerates ANSYS Fluent (CFD) and Gaussian (Quantum Chemistry) and VASP (Material Science), which are among the top 10 HPC applications, as well as selected ORNL Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) codes to be run on the future CORAL Supercomputer: GTC (Physics), XGC (Physics), LSDalton (Quantum Chemistry), ACME(CWO), and FLASH (Astrophysics).

“Early indications are that we can nearly match the performance of CUDA using OpenACC on GPUs. This will enable our domain scientists to work on a uniform GPU accelerated Fortran source code base,” says Martijn Marsman, Computational Materials Physics at the University of Vienna in the official press release.

“We’ve effectively used OpenACC for heterogeneous computing in ANSYS Fluent with impressive performance. We’re now applying this work to more of our models and new platforms,” says Sunil Sathe, lead software developer, ANSYS.

OpenACC also reports the recently upgraded CSCS Piz Daint supercomputer will be running five codes implemented with OpenACC in the near term: COSMO (CWO), ELEPHANT (Astrophysics), RAMSES (Astrophysics), ICON (CWO), ORB5 (Plasma Physics).

Two new OpenACC officers have been appointed:

  • Guido Juckeland

    Guido Juckeland is the new secretary for OpenACC. He founded the Computational Science Group at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Germany. His research focuses on better usability and programmability for hardware accelerators and application performance monitoring as well as optimization. He is also vice-chair of the SPEC High Performance Group (HPG) and an active member of the OpenACC technical.

  • Sunita Chandrasekaran

    Sunita Chandrasekaran is the new director of user adoption. Her mission is to grow the OpenACC organization and user community. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Delaware. Her research interest spans HPC, parallel algorithms, programming models, compiler and runtime methodologies and reconfigurable computing. She was one of the recipients of the 2016 IEEE TCHPC Award for Excellence for Early Career Researchers in HPC.

Wolfe says the forthcoming 2.6 release is mostly a matter of tweaks. One change in the works which is substantive is Deep Copy capability.

“Many of these programs have very complex data structures. If you think about supercomputing you think about arrays, vectors, and matrices. [But] that’s so 1970s. Now these applications will have an array of structures and each structure element has a subarray which is a different. On today’s devices, in order to get most performance on the GPU, you need to move the data onto the GPU memory which is higher bandwidth, closer to the device,” says Wolfe.

“Deep copy doesn’t just copy the array but copies that and all the subarrays and all the subarrays. There is a mechanism to support this today but it is clunky [and] requires a lot of code. We are trying to automate that but we are afraid we are going to get it wrong. So what we are doing now in the PGI compiler, we are working on a prototype application before we standardize something in the classification,” says Wolfe.

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!

How Formula 1 Used Cloud HPC to Build the Next Generation of Racing

December 12, 2019

Formula 1, Rob Smedley explained, is maybe the biggest racing spectacle in the world, with five hundred million fans tuning in for every race. Smedley, a chief engineer with Formula 1’s performance engineering and anal Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has been unveiled in upstate New York that will be used by IBM Read more…

By Doug Black

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digita Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Supercomputers Help Predict Carbon Dioxide Levels

December 10, 2019

The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems – its lands, forests, jungles and so on – are crucial “sinks” for atmospheric carbon, holding nearly 30 percent of our annual CO2 emissions as they breathe in the carbon-rich Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Finally! SC19 Competitors Live and in Color!

December 10, 2019

You know the saying “better late than never”? That’s how my cluster competition coverage is faring this year. With SC19 coming late in November, quickly followed by my annual trip to South Africa to cover their clu Read more…

By Dan Olds

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

GPU Scheduling and Resource Accounting: The Key to an Efficient AI Data Center

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community!]

GPUs are the new CPUs

GPUs have become a staple technology in modern HPC and AI data centers. Read more…

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum processor chips. The new controller is a mixed-signal SoC named Ho Read more…

By John Russell

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum proces Read more…

By John Russell

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has n Read more…

By Doug Black

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science its Read more…

By John Russell

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Tsinghua University Racks Up Its Ninth Student Cluster Championship Win at SC19

November 27, 2019

Tsinghua University has done it again. At SC19 last week, the eight-time gold medal-winner team took home the top prize in the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
CEJN
CJEN
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

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