IBM Cloud Floats Power9 ‘Volta’ Servers

By Tiffany Trader

March 22, 2018

At IBM’s inaugural Think 2018 conference and third US-based OpenPower summit, the tech giant is trumpeting swelling momentum for its OpenPower ecosystem and traction for Power9, including Google’s disclosure that its custom-built (by Rackspace) Power9 “Zaius” servers are “Google strong,” i.e., market ready. IBM is also welcoming the Power servers, backed by Nvidia V100 GPUs, into its cloud.

IBM Power System AC922

In a blog post on “bringing security and AI to the IBM cloud” Ross Mauri, general manager, IBM Z, and John Considine, general manager, IBM Cloud Infrastructure, revealed the availability of the Power9-based AC922 (“Witherspoon”) systems in the company’s cloud. The new servers with two 16-core Power9 chips and four Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs are said to provide a 4x speedup for deep learning training compared to competitive Intel hardware, according to internal testing by IBM*.

While hailing the advantages of its Power servers’ unique support for the CPU-to-GPU NVLink interface (which offers a 5-10x speedup in communications over PCIe gen3), IBM has been slow to bring HPC-class Power architectures into its own cloud, even ceding first-mover bragging rights to partner and HPC cloud vendor Nimbix, which deployed the Power8 Minsky technology in 2016 (and was the first public cloud provider to do so). [Nimbix is also announcing Power9 on its cloud, which we cover in-depth here.]

IBM was an early adopter of Nvidia’s high-end Pascal and Volta GPU gear, but used the PCIe variants within x86 Intel servers. Why IBM held out on putting Power in its cloud is a bit of a head-scratcher since the company believes it has the superior technology (with Power) and strategy (with OpenPower) to put a dent in Intel’s game. If IBM’s cloud customers weren’t ready, that’s understandable, but for the sake of optics alone, it’s surprising IBM didn’t make the move earlier.

At any rate, now there is some critical mass happening for Power/OpenPower (covered here) and IBM Cloud is moving to embrace it. PowerAI will also be brought into the IBM Cloud, with planned availability for next quarter. The suite of artificial intelligence tools supporting popular frameworks like TensorFlow, Torch and Caffe was developed and optimized for IBM’s accelerated Power servers, so it’s only natural that it would be included.

In addition, IBM announced it is integrating SAP HANA on Power into the IBM Cloud as an SAP-certified managed application service. “Through this integrated approach of hardware and software, IBM is the first to offer this level of cloud support for massive workloads of up to 24 TB by using IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage,” said Mauir and Considine.

In a press briefing at IBM Think, Senior Vice President IBM Cognitive Systems Bob Picciano said the traditional approach to high-performance computing is undergoing disruption from the fast growing GPU-accelerated approach. “We’re democratizing hardware-software integration,” Picciano told HPCwire. He cited Snap ML on Power9 as an example, referring to the new library developed by the IBM Zurich Research that “trains models faster than you can snap your fingers.”

Using an online advertising (click stream) dataset released by Criteo Labs with over 4 billion training examples, the Zurich team trained a logistic regression classifier across four IBM Power System AC922 servers, each with four Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs. Training was accomplished in just 91.5 seconds, a 46x speedup over the previous best result reported by Google, which used TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform to train the same model in 70 minutes (more info here). “We’re seeing that pattern repeatedly with machine learning and deep learning once you move into Power9 on the GPU stack,” said Picciano.

While IBM rolls out Power9/OpenPower in the enterprise, it has already made a splash in leadership supercomputing with the DOE Power9-based CORAL machines Summit and Sierra. On track for acceptance this summer, the systems, which cost $325 million to develop and manufacture, will be the largest in the United States; and Summit, with an expected 200-petaflops of peak performance, is in the running to be the world’s fastest supercomputer, as measured by the long-running Linpack benchmark.

* Results are based on IBM Internal Measurements running the CUDA H2D Bandwidth Test Hardware: Power AC922; 32 cores (2 x 16c chips), POWER9 with NVLink 2.0; 2.25 GHz, 1024 GB memory, 4xTesla V100 GPU; Ubuntu 16.04. S822LC for HPC; 20 cores (2 x 10c chips), POWER8 with NVLink; 2.86 GHz, 512 GB memory, Tesla P100 GPU  Competitive HW: 2x Xeon E5-2640 v4; 20 cores (2 x 10c chips) / 40 threads; Intel Xeon E5-2640 v4; 2.4 GHz; 1024 GB memory, 4xTesla V100 GPU, Ubuntu 16.04

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!

Democratization of HPC Part 3: Ninth Graders Tap HPC in the Cloud to Design Flying Boats

October 18, 2018

This is the third in a series of articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of high-performance computing (HPC) in new user communities and application areas. In this article we present UberCloud use case #208 on how Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch and Håkon Bull Hove

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phase, on the near side of a difficult chasm to cross. In respon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

One Small Step Toward Mars: One Giant Leap for Supercomputing

Since the days of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, we have continually sought ways to perform experiments in space. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questions and, you won’t be surprised, offers a firm “it’s wo Read more…

By John Russell

Penguin Computing Launches Consultancy for Piecing AI Strategies Together

October 18, 2018

AI stands before the HPC industry as a beacon of great expectations, yet market research repeatedly shows that AI adoption is commonly stuck in the talking phas Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Water Quality—Not Quantity—Hinders HPC Cooling

October 18, 2018

Attention has been paid to the sheer quantity of water consumed by supercomputers’ cooling towers – and rightly so, as they can require thousands of gallons per minute to cool. But in the background, another factor can emerge, bottlenecking efficiency and raising costs: water quality. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Paper Offers ‘Proof’ of Quantum Advantage on Some Problems

October 18, 2018

Is quantum computing worth all the effort being poured into it or should we just wait for classical computing to catch up? An IBM blog today posed those questio Read more…

By John Russell

Dell EMC to Supply U Michigan’s Great Lakes Cluster

October 16, 2018

The University of Michigan (U-M) today announced Dell EMC is the lead vendor for U-M’s $4.8 million Great Lakes HPC cluster scheduled for deployment in first Read more…

By John Russell

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Platform Pushes GPUs into Machine Learning, High Performance Data Analytics

October 10, 2018

GPU leader Nvidia, generally associated with deep learning, autonomous vehicles and other higher-end enterprise and scientific workloads (and gaming, of course) Read more…

By Doug Black

Federal Investment in Exascale – What It Really Means

October 10, 2018

Earlier this month, the EuroHPC JU (Joint Undertaking) reached critical mass, and it seems all EU and affiliated member states, bar the UK (unsurprisingly), have or will sign on. The EuroHPC JU was born from a recognition that individual EU member states, and the EU as a whole, were significantly underinvesting in HPC compared to the US, China and Japan, who all have their own exascale investment and delivery strategies (NSCI, 13th 5 Year Plan, Post-K, etc). Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

NERSC-9 Clues Found in NERSC 2017 Annual Report

October 8, 2018

If you’re eager to find out who’ll supply NERSC’s next-gen supercomputer, codenamed NERSC-9, here’s a project update to tide you over until the winning bid and system details are revealed. The upcoming system is referenced several times in the recently published 2017 NERSC annual report. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

AMD’s EPYC Road to Redemption in Six Slides

June 21, 2018

A year ago AMD returned to the server market with its EPYC processor line. The earth didn’t tremble but folks took notice. People remember the Opteron fondly Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

HPC on Wall Street 2018 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Arista

Dell EMC

IBM

Intel

RStor

VMWare

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Aerodynamic Simulation Reveals Best Position in a Peloton of Cyclists

July 5, 2018

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven research group conducts the largest numerical simulation ever done in the sport industry and cycling discipline. The goal was to understand the aerodynamic interactions in the peloton, i.e., the main pack of cyclists in a race. Read more…

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