Nanyang pulled off the always difficult double-play at this year’s SC Student Cluster Competition. The plucky team from Singapore posted a world record LINPACK, thus taking the Highest LINPACK Award, but also managed to notch the highest HPCG score as well. This is quite an achievement.
LINPACK and HPCG are the bookends of HPC system benchmarks. LINPACK is an embarrassingly parallel linear algebra benchmark that mimics HPC workloads of yesteryear. Your LINPACK score represents the very highest numerical performance your system can achieve.
HPCG is a much newer benchmark that uses sparse matrices and such to more closely duplicate the HPC workloads of today. You can find out more about HPCG here. This is an incredibly stressful benchmark (for the system, not for the operator) that rigorously tests your server. However, unlike LINPACK, HPCG only takes 30 minutes to run, which means that any supercomputer, regardless of size, can easily find the time to power through an HPCG.
Nanyang used their dual-node Intel 2699-based cluster along with 16 NVIDIA V100 GPUs to blast their way into cluster competition history with their record-breaking score of 2,055.85. This easily topped the 1,394.32 mark set by the Purdue/NEU team at ISC17. In fact, the top three finishers in the HPCG SC17 competition posted scores above the ISC17 record.
Student competitors have blown away benchmark records set only five months ago at the ISC17 event. The major difference maker seems to be new Intel Skylake CPUs and NVIDIA V100 accelerators. However, this is following the usual pattern. Each new cluster competition breaks the records set by the previous competition. It’s the circle of life in the tech business, right?