FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

By Alex R. Larzelere

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positive news for the DOE and NNSA’s exascale activities. When we last looked at the budget situation, Congress and the Administration had stacked the deck to make passing the 12 appropriations bills as easy as possible. The last Continuing Resolution (CR) lifted the budget sequestration caps and allowed the Senate and House Appropriations committees to basically ignore the country’s debt limit. However, even with this added flexibility, Congress was unable to complete the process to reconcile the differences in the appropriations bills passed by the House and the Senate. That resulted in the creation of an omnibus bill that covered the discretionary elements of the entire federal government.

The FY18 omnibus budget is huge. The bill was 2,232 pages long and covered over $1.3 trillion of government spending. It basically contains the text of the 12 appropriations bill that would have been the subject to the House and Senate conference committees if “regular order” had been followed. The “must pass” nature of an omnibus provides Congress with an opportunity to slip in non-budget related language into what eventually becomes law. It was some of those provisions that almost caused the demise of the omnibus and generated a lot of excitement before the bill was signed by the President into law.

The text of the omnibus bill was unveiled on the evening of Wednesday, March 21st. The bill was then passed by both the House and Senate on Thursday. The next and final step was the President signing the bill into law. Historically, given the alternative of shutting down the government, the Presidential signing would be considered automatic. However, in a Tweet on the morning of Friday, March 23rd, President Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the bill and the process that generated it. He threatened to veto the bill, which in turn generated a great deal of uncertainty with what would happen next. This was particularly troublesome because Congress was in the process of heading out of town for its two-week spring recess. However, in the end, and to the relief of many, the President did sign the omnibus bill and the $1.3 trillion budget became law.

The very good news is that in the omnibus, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) saw significant budget growth. As you will recall, ECI is the joint effort by the DOE’s Office of Science (SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The goal of ECI is to establish a “productive” exascale system in the United States by 2021, with several follow-on installations. ECI consists of two major parts. One is the activities associated with the procurement of systems to support the computing capabilities at the national laboratories facilities. This work is being done through the CORAL-2 acquisition process and will include Non-Recurring Engineering work, site preparation, and installation of exascale computing system. CORAL stands for Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Livermore. The “2” represents that this is the second time this process is being used. The first time, the CORAL Request for Proposals (RFP) was used to acquire the Aurora system at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), the Summit system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Sierra system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The CORAL-2 procurement process is just starting and the RFP is expected to be released any day now.

The other part of ECI is known as the Exascale Computing Project (ECP). This is an official Office of Science (SC) project (governed by DOE orders) that is jointly supported by SC / ASCR and the NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program. ECP is closely coordinated with complementary exascale work funded by NNSA at its national labs. The focus of ECP and the NNSA work is on conducting research that will improve the productivity of systems that will be procured through CORAL-2. ECP also supports research in hardware technologies and middleware software (operating systems, file systems, libraries, etc.) to improve exascale system productivity. A major emphasis of ECP is creating the applications that can use the power of exascale computing to solve important science and national security challenges. Finally, ECP supports co-design centers that bring all the elements of ECP together.

The final number for ECI saw the numbers grow from an initial request of $508 million to a final $663 million. Most of this growth occurred in the Office of Science budget. The initial request for NNSA ECI was $183 million and only grew to $186 million in the FY18 omnibus. On the SC side of the ledger, the initial request was for $347 million; the final omnibus number is $477 million, a big $130 million increase. Most of that occurred within the facilities elements of the budget that is used for hardware procurement and site preparation.

An important aspect of the FY18 omnibus numbers is that they will feed into the exascale program budget for FY19. In an earlier article, we outlined the ECI budget request made by the President for FY19. These numbers were also very encouraging. The President’s FY19 ECI budget request was for a total of $636 million in the Department of Energy (DOE). This is below the FY18 omnibus number, but that will likely be adjusted as the request works its way through the Congressional process. The NNSA FY19 request for ECI is $163 million, which is the same as the FY18 omnibus number. The SC ECI FY19 request is for $473 million and that is below the final FY18 omnibus number, but again can be adjusted by Congress.

With these budget numbers, it is now up to the DOE SC and NNSA programs to continue to execute the work needed to deliver “capable” exascale computers starting 2021. A big part of that will be the CORAL-2 procurements that should be released shortly. Just as for the previous CORAL-1 procurement, to mitigate technology risks, CORAL-2 expects to procure machines with two different architectures. One is slated to go to the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) for 2021 delivery and the other, depending on the availability of funds, to the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) for delivery in 2022. The ALCF exascale system would be in addition to the “novel” architecture system currently being built by Intel and known as A21 (formerly Aurora). The NNSA exascale system is expected to start its installation in 2022 at LLNL. The NNSA is expected to choose one of the two different SC systems, but reserves the option of choosing a third architecture.

Also, the ECP will not have any funding excuses for delivering the technologies to make the future exascale computers “productive.” The ECP leadership transition from Paul Messina to Doug Kothe has been completed along with several leadership changes at the sub-project level. During the December advisory committee meeting, Kothe talked about installing project planning processes that provide a good view of tasks, milestones, interdependencies and risks. This is similar to the approach he used before with great success when he was the Director of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light-water-reactors (CASL). CASL is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, which in the words of former Secretary of Energy Steve Chu, was required to have a “fierce sense of urgency.” Given all the recent good news, ECI also seems to be getting that similar sense of urgency.

As messy as the end was, the FY18 budget process is now complete. The numbers for the U.S. exascale program look very good and the prospects for the next year are at least as good and could get better. The worldwide competition for exascale supremacy is still on. China, Japan, and Europe are all making announcements about their plans. The great news is that there are no questions that the U.S. is in the race. In the final analysis, there is no reason to doubt the country’s commitment to retaining and building its leadership in the important strategic technology of exascale computing.

About the Author

Alex Larzelere is a senior fellow at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the president of Larzelere & Associates Consulting and HPCwire’s policy editor. He is currently a technologist, speaker and author on a number of disruptive technologies that include: advanced modeling and simulation; high performance computing; artificial intelligence; the Internet of Things; and additive manufacturing. Alex’s career has included time in federal service (working closely with DOE national labs), private industry, and as founder of a small business. Throughout that time, he led programs that implemented the use of cutting edge advanced computing technologies to enable high resolution, multi-physics simulations of complex physical systems. Alex is the author of “Delivering Insight: The History of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI).”

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

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 Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

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

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
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