Takeaways from the Milwaukee HPC User Forum

By Merle Giles

September 19, 2017

Milwaukee’s elegant Pfister Hotel hosted approximately 100 attendees for the 66th HPC User Forum (September 5-7, 2017). In the original home city of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Harley Davidson motorcycles the agenda addressed artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and drug repositioning. The printed agenda neglected to suggest that we would actually be served PBR and be accompanied by two HD cruisers complements of the House of Harley local dealership. The Hyperion folks surprised and delighted us further with live Germany music, rouladen, bratwurst and sauerkraut.

Below are a few of my observations from the forum.

Exascale Efforts in the USA and EU

While the European Union’s single digital market strategy is moving forward with a legal and procurement framework, the USA is thinking through metrics. Specifically, it appears the exascale community has abandoned metrics for theoretical peak performance and the percentage utilization of a CPU as key metrics. This may portend that less attention is being given to solver-heavy physics to this new generation of supercomputers. We shall see, but perhaps this is influenced by the fraction of non-recurring engineering costs involved in developing exascale systems in a non-incremental way. Seemingly arbitrary power limitations and an observed pullback on metrics in the US model may correlate with some community observations of under-investment. But perhaps an approach that doesn’t require as much double precision will broaden the market.

Key takeaway: Exascale will emerge in unexpected ways following a retrenchment in HPC metrics used for decades

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Deep Learning

There were several presentations on AI, machine learning and deep learning ranging from Michael Garris who is co-chair of the NIST ML/AI subcommittee to Maarten Sierhuis (Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley), Tim Barr (Cray), Arno Kolster (Providentia Worldwide) and Graham Anthony (BioVista). While each of us knows intuitively that we have cognitive assistance in our pockets I was especially interested in the comments that accuracy and speed is often a tradeoff (logical), reduction in error rates occur when 10x more data is used (nice quantification) and pattern detection is very specific to the use case (less intuitive).

Maarten Sierhuis predicted that multiple lane highway scans for automobiles will be available in 2018 and for urban intersections in 2020. Full autonomy is extremely difficult, especially when attempting to identify non-car objects and mimic human decision making in complex situations. High-definition maps aren’t the only missing piece – AI must be present in the cloud.

Arno Kolster was especially targeted in his message that interoperability and workflow management lag pattern detection and algorithm development, concluding that general solutions are a long way off. Algorithm and data formats are very closely linked now – a lockstep that is predictable but inflexible. Ideally, algorithm performance would detect and adjust to system capabilities, along with fluid workflow, integrated message flow, visualization tuned to the customer and well exposed KPIs.

A breath of fresh air came from Graham Anthony who spoke about the pursuit of sustainable healthcare through personalized medicine. The BioVista website calls it ‘drug repositioning’ when HPC drives the ability to more effectively and quickly combine patient and general biomedical data to transform medicine. The key challenge is to get the cost of these services down to fit into standard cost reimbursement codes and the time-frame for doctor use to fit into a 15-minute visit.

Key takeaway: High qualitative impact in a variety of sectors may dwarf the use of today’s research HPC

Innovation Award Winners Paul Morin (The Polar Geospatial Center University of Minnesota) and Leigh Orf (University of Wisconsin at Madison)

Dr. Morin caught my attention when he claimed he could use all possible cycles in the world to analyze geospatial mapping of the poles. Perhaps he said he could use all cycles ever provided but I got rather lost in just the current realm. His plan is to process 80 trillion pictures of the entire arctic at a resolution of two meters. Then repeat – effectively providing time-dependent photography that can track changes in elevation. He uses Blue Waters as a capacity machine today but its scheduler had to be rewritten to handle thousands of job launches. My first thought was that other use cases could benefit from a high-capacity scheduler, such as bioinformatics. Then my second thought was a bit cynical, thinking that most capacity computing proposals wither and die among policy makers who believe our nation’s largest machines should be reserved for capability computing. He is willing to try other technologies. Perhaps the cloud’s existing exascale capacity could help – its current business model notwithstanding.

Dr. Orf’s tornadoes were among the best I’ve seen. He uses 15-meter resolutions knowing that doubling the resolution needs 10x more compute power and 8x more memory. His biggest bottleneck is I/O because of the frequency of time-step saving. His biggest achievement may be that he effectively created a new file system by allocating one core per node to build an HDF5 file. His key desire is to issue probabilistic forecast warnings by looking at radar as storms are forming and differentiating between predictions of EF1 and EF5.

Key takeaway: These researchers are heroes interested in impact that transcends both basic and applied research. So why is ready access to huge, highly-tuned capacity computing so impossible?

NCSA/Hyperion Industry Study

I have some unique perspectives on the report released August 22, 2017, by NCSA since I was the initial PI for the NSF award. This work complements a 2012 NCSA survey that I completed on the impact on scientific discovery using simulation-based engineering and science and a 2015 book on industrial applications of HPC that captures 40 contributions from eleven countries from HPC centers that engage closely with industry. I’ll share my observations on this study for a separate article.

Merle Giles (NCSA Private Sector Program – U.S.)

As for my takeaways from beyond the printed agenda I would simply observe that the dinner speaker from the Pabst Museum was informative and inspirational. Captain Pabst married into a brewing family and became an unlikely company president given his first love as a steamer captain on Lake Michigan. Pabst Brewing Company ultimately grew to become the world’s largest brewery, selling 15.6 million barrels of beer in 1978. I highly recommend a tour of the 22,000 square-foot 1890s-era Pabst mansion on Milwaukee’s original Grand Avenue. It offers deep learning of a different kind.

About the Author

Merle Giles is currently CEO of Moonshot Research LLC. He directed NCSA’s Private Sector Program for ten years.

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!

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Microsoft Closes Confidential Computing Loop with AMD’s Milan Chip

September 22, 2022

Microsoft shared details on how it uses an AMD technology to secure artificial intelligence as it builds out a secure AI infrastructure in its Azure cloud service. Microsoft has a strong relationship with Nvidia, but is also working with AMD's Epyc chips (including the new 3D VCache series), MI Instinct accelerators, and also... Read more…

Nvidia Introduces New Ada Lovelace GPU Architecture, OVX Systems, Omniverse Cloud

September 20, 2022

In his GTC keynote today, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang launched another new Nvidia GPU architecture: Ada Lovelace, named for the legendary mathematician regarded as the first computer programmer. The company also announced tw Read more…

Nvidia’s Hopper GPUs Enter ‘Full Production,’ DGXs Delayed Until Q1

September 20, 2022

Just about six months ago, Nvidia’s spring GTC event saw the announcement of its hotly anticipated Hopper GPU architecture. Now, the GPU giant is announcing that Hopper-generation GPUs (which promise greater energy eff Read more…

NeMo LLM Service: Nvidia’s First Cloud Service Makes AI Less Vague

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is trying to uncomplicate AI with a cloud service that makes AI and its many forms of computing less vague and more conversational. The NeMo LLM service, which Nvidia called its first cloud service, adds a layer of intelligence and interactivity... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1194728515

Simulating 44-Qubit quantum circuits using AWS ParallelCluster

Dr. Fabio Baruffa, Sr. HPC & QC Solutions Architect
Dr. Pavel Lougovski, Pr. QC Research Scientist
Tyson Jones, Doctoral researcher, University of Oxford

Introduction

Currently, an enormous effort is underway to develop quantum computing hardware capable of scaling to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of physical (non-error-corrected) qubits. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1166887495

Improving Insurance Fraud Detection using AI Running on Cloud-based GPU-Accelerated Systems

Insurance is a highly regulated industry that is evolving as the industry faces changing customer expectations, massive amounts of data, and increased regulations. A major issue facing the industry is tracking insurance fraud. Read more…

Nvidia Targets Computers for Robots in the Surgery Rooms

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is laying the groundwork for a future in which humans and robots will be collaborators in the surgery rooms at hospitals. The company announced a computer called IGX for Medical Devices, which will be populated in robots, image scanners and other computers and medical devices involved in patient care close to the point... Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Nvidia Introduces New Ada Lovelace GPU Architecture, OVX Systems, Omniverse Cloud

September 20, 2022

In his GTC keynote today, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang launched another new Nvidia GPU architecture: Ada Lovelace, named for the legendary mathematician regarded as Read more…

Nvidia’s Hopper GPUs Enter ‘Full Production,’ DGXs Delayed Until Q1

September 20, 2022

Just about six months ago, Nvidia’s spring GTC event saw the announcement of its hotly anticipated Hopper GPU architecture. Now, the GPU giant is announcing t Read more…

NeMo LLM Service: Nvidia’s First Cloud Service Makes AI Less Vague

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is trying to uncomplicate AI with a cloud service that makes AI and its many forms of computing less vague and more conversational. The NeMo LLM service, which Nvidia called its first cloud service, adds a layer of intelligence and interactivity... Read more…

Nvidia Targets Computers for Robots in the Surgery Rooms

September 20, 2022

Nvidia is laying the groundwork for a future in which humans and robots will be collaborators in the surgery rooms at hospitals. The company announced a computer called IGX for Medical Devices, which will be populated in robots, image scanners and other computers and medical devices involved in patient care close to the point... Read more…

Survey Results: PsiQuantum, ORNL, and D-Wave Tackle Benchmarking, Networking, and More

September 19, 2022

The are many issues in quantum computing today – among the more pressing are benchmarking, networking and development of hybrid classical-quantum approaches. Read more…

HPC + AI Wall Street to Feature ‘Spooky’ Science for Financial Services

September 18, 2022

Albert Einstein famously described quantum mechanics as "spooky action at a distance" due to the non-intuitive nature of superposition and quantum entangled par Read more…

Analog Chips Find a New Lease of Life in Artificial Intelligence

September 17, 2022

The need for speed is a hot topic among participants at this week’s AI Hardware Summit – larger AI language models, faster chips and more bandwidth for AI machines to make accurate predictions. But some hardware startups are taking a throwback approach for AI computing to counter the more-is-better... Read more…

AWS Takes the Short and Long View of Quantum Computing

August 30, 2022

It is perhaps not surprising that the big cloud providers – a poor term really – have jumped into quantum computing. Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google, and th Read more…

The Final Frontier: US Has Its First Exascale Supercomputer

May 30, 2022

In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to procure a trio of exascale supercomputers at a total cost of up to $1.8 billion dollars. Over the ensuing four years, many announcements were made, many deadlines were missed, and a pandemic threw the world into disarray. Now, at long last, HPE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced that the first of those... Read more…

US Senate Passes CHIPS Act Temperature Check, but Challenges Linger

July 19, 2022

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a major hurdle that will open up close to $52 billion in grants for the semiconductor industry to boost manufacturing, supply chain and research and development. U.S. senators voted 64-34 in favor of advancing the CHIPS Act, which sets the stage for the final consideration... Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

Top500: Exascale Is Officially Here with Debut of Frontier

May 30, 2022

The 59th installment of the Top500 list, issued today from ISC 2022 in Hamburg, Germany, officially marks a new era in supercomputing with the debut of the first-ever exascale system on the list. Frontier, deployed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieved 1.102 exaflops in its fastest High Performance Linpack run, which was completed... Read more…

Chinese Startup Biren Details BR100 GPU

August 22, 2022

Amid the high-performance GPU turf tussle between AMD and Nvidia (and soon, Intel), a new, China-based player is emerging: Biren Technology, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Shanghai. At Hot Chips 34, Biren co-founder and president Lingjie Xu and Biren CTO Mike Hong took the (virtual) stage to detail the company’s inaugural product: the Biren BR100 general-purpose GPU (GPGPU). “It is my honor to present... Read more…

Newly-Observed Higgs Mode Holds Promise in Quantum Computing

June 8, 2022

The first-ever appearance of a previously undetectable quantum excitation known as the axial Higgs mode – exciting in its own right – also holds promise for developing and manipulating higher temperature quantum materials... Read more…

AMD’s MI300 APUs to Power Exascale El Capitan Supercomputer

June 21, 2022

Additional details of the architecture of the exascale El Capitan supercomputer were disclosed today by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Terri Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

Exclusive Inside Look at First US Exascale Supercomputer

July 1, 2022

HPCwire takes you inside the Frontier datacenter at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for an interview with Frontier Project Direc Read more…

AMD Opens Up Chip Design to the Outside for Custom Future

June 15, 2022

AMD is getting personal with chips as it sets sail to make products more to the liking of its customers. The chipmaker detailed a modular chip future in which customers can mix and match non-AMD processors in a custom chip package. "We are focused on making it easier to implement chips with more flexibility," said Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at AMD during the analyst day meeting late last week. Read more…

Intel Reiterates Plans to Merge CPU, GPU High-performance Chip Roadmaps

May 31, 2022

Intel reiterated it is well on its way to merging its roadmap of high-performance CPUs and GPUs as it shifts over to newer manufacturing processes and packaging technologies in the coming years. The company is merging the CPU and GPU lineups into a chip (codenamed Falcon Shores) which Intel has dubbed an XPU. Falcon Shores... Read more…

Nvidia, Intel to Power Atos-Built MareNostrum 5 Supercomputer

June 16, 2022

The long-troubled, hotly anticipated MareNostrum 5 supercomputer finally has a vendor: Atos, which will be supplying a system that includes both Nvidia and Inte Read more…

UCIe Consortium Incorporates, Nvidia and Alibaba Round Out Board

August 2, 2022

The Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) consortium is moving ahead with its effort to standardize a universal interconnect at the package level. The c Read more…

Using Exascale Supercomputers to Make Clean Fusion Energy Possible

September 2, 2022

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and the stars, has incredible potential as a source of safe, carbon-free and essentially limitless energy. But Read more…

Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?

June 22, 2022

You may recall that efforts proposed in 2020 to remake the National Science Foundation (Endless Frontier Act) have since expanded and morphed into two gigantic bills, the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate. So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation have snagged and recent reports... Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire