Exascale USA – Continuing to Move Forward

By Alex R. Larzelere

June 6, 2018

The end of May 2018, saw several important events that continue to advance the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Initiative (ECI) for the United States. Two of these events, are the passage of exascale budgets by both the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees. These are part of the Energy and Water elements of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY-19) federal budget. The third event was the submission by industry of their proposals to the CORAL-2 Request For Proposals (RFP) for the Non-Reoccurring Engineering (NRE) and system builds of at least two more exascale computing systems. The country’s first exascale system is projected to be A21 to be installed at the Argonne National Laboratory by 2021. Even though the news was not uniformly good, these three events are more positive steps as the U.S. continues its pursuit of productive exascale computing capabilities to be used in the support of discovery science, national security, and economic competitiveness.

The first event occurred on May 16, when the House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Energy and Water budget bill. As usual, the high-level bill was accompanied by a detailed report that breaks down the funding levels and provides specific guidance to the agencies. The FY-19 exascale numbers in the report look good, particularly for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science (SC) Advanced Scientific Computer Research (ASCR) program.

You may recall that on February 12, 2018, President Trump submitted his FY-19 budget request to Congress that called for a total of $636 million for the DOE’s ECI. The request was divided between the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA} Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program and the SC ASCR program. The $163 million ASC program request was further divided into $116 million for exascale R&D activities and $47 million for infrastructure work. The $473 million ASCR request put $233 million into the Exascale Computing Project (ECP), which is the SC R&D element of the overall ECI program, and $240 million in facilities investments that will be used to fund the NRE and procurement of the computers.

The May 16th House Appropriations Committee report did not specify a number for the ASC exascale R&D activities, but in that case, the number stays at the request level ($116 million). The report set the ASC infrastructure number at $47 million, which is once again the same as requested. The bottom line for ASC program is that the House numbers are the same as the President’s request, or $163 million. On the SC ASCR side of the ledger, the House reduced the ECP number to $225 million and reduced the facilities number to $225 million. These changes put the overall SC ASCR number to $450 million. In the end, for FY-19, the House Appropriations Committee put the overall DOE’s ECI budget at a still impressive $613 million, but a total of $23 million below the request.

The House report language also identified some important issues. The accompanying language for both the ASCR and ASC programs, voiced concerns that the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee had not received adequate detail about the overall estimated costs of the procurements. For the ASC program, the subcommittee also requested an “analysis of alternatives” to satisfy stockpile stewardship mission needs and to clearly identified threshold requirements for NNSA’s HPC acquisitions. So – while there is clearly support for exascale, the House subcommittee seems to be concerned about its price tag and is starting to ask questions about what will be needed for “beyond exascale” to meet mission needs?

The second important Exascale USA event occurred on May 24th. This is when the full Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Energy and Water element of the FY-19 budget. The NNSA ASC part of ECI ended up exactly in line with the President’s request. The Appropriations Committee approved $116 million for exascale R&D and $47 million for infrastructure preparation for a total of $163 million. On the SC ASCR side, the news was good. The ECI elements received a total of $483 million. The ECP R&D activities were given $233 million in support of their work on applications, middleware software and systems integration. The ASCR facilities part was given a total of $250 million that was split between the Leadership Computing Facilities at Oak Ridge ($105 million) and Argonne ($145 millions). This is especially important for the CORAL-2 procurement because these are the funds that will be used for NRE and the system build work for the SC systems resulting from the RFP. Overall, on the Senate side, the DOE ECI was given a total of $693 million, or just a $10 million increase over the President’s request.

The last major exascale event in May, was the submission of industry responses to the RFP on the 24th. At this point we do not know which companies did, or did not, submit bids. The things we do know is that, like CORAL-1, the proposal preparation process was an aggressive 45 days. Also, like CORAL-1, the proposal preparation requirements were quite extensive. The RFP required the completion of seven volumes that included a number of different configurations and options. Also, the RFP requested that industry run a number of different benchmarks and then estimate the benchmark performance on their proposed systems. The CORAL-2 RFP set the bar very high and made the industry proposal teams work very hard.

With the submission of the proposals, the hard work now shifts behind the scenes to the evaluation process. The DOE and its labs have set an aggressive schedule to quickly get through that process and make awards. As you may recall, the CORAL-2 RFP requested bids for up to three systems. One would be placed at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF). Another one would go to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to support NNSA modeling and simulation. This computer could be the same as the OLCF computer but could also be different. The RFP also included an option, if funds are available, for a third CORAL-2 exascale computer to be installed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) around 2023. This system would be in addition to the “novel technology” A21 exascale computer that is scheduled to be installed in 2021. That computer could be similar to the LLNL system, but definitely has to be different than the OLCF computer.

Bottom line — on May 24th, the CORAL-2 contracting office at Oak Ridge received hundreds, if not thousands, of electronic pages of proposal material. Now those pages are in the process of getting a thorough examination by researchers at the national labs. The DOE and its labs have promised an aggressive schedule to get that done. In December 2017, the CORAL-2 team held a vendor meeting. At that time, the labs predicted that the RFP would be released in February 2018 and that responses would be due in April. That was supposed to lead to selections being made in May and awards for the NRE work to be negotiated and signed by October. The presentation estimated that the final system build contract awards would begin by the start of 2019. Given that the RFP was released in April rather than February, but that the proposal period was shorten from eight weeks to 45 days, it seems that the RFP is only about a month behind the schedule presented in December. This means that the evaluation teams will be working fast and furious to evaluate all of the data provided in the RFP responses, but that things look good for more exascale systems to start showing up on U.S. lab floors in the 2021 – 2022 timeframe.

All in all, the last few weeks of May were very eventful for the U.S. DOE exascale programs. The news was not uniformly good, but for the most part was very encouraging. Both the House and Senate Appropriations committee reaffirmed the President’s NNSA ASC request and the Senate increased the SC ASCR request. The House voiced some concerns about where things are going and that is going to make some DOE federal employees scramble to prepare reports for Congress. The other big event was the completion of the industry proposal process for the CORAL-2 exascale machines. The procurement process seems to be slightly behind schedule but should allow for the projected delivery of an exascale system to the OLCF in 2021 and its acceptance in 2022. The outlook for Exascale USA continues to look bright. Undoubtedly, China and Europe will keep pressing ahead, but it is clear that the race for computer supremacy is on, and the U.S. is definitely in the running!

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!

University of Chicago Researchers Generate First Computational Model of Entire SARS-CoV-2 Virus

January 15, 2021

Over the course of the last year, many detailed computational models of SARS-CoV-2 have been produced with the help of supercomputers, but those models have largely focused on critical elements of the virus, such as its Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Roar Supercomputer to Support Naval Aircraft Research

January 14, 2021

One might not think “aircraft” when picturing the U.S. Navy, but the military branch actually has thousands of aircraft currently in service – and now, supercomputing will help future naval aircraft operate faster, Read more…

By Staff report

DOE and NOAA Extend Computing Partnership, Plan for New Supercomputer

January 14, 2021

The National Climate-Computing Research Center (NCRC), hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has been supporting the climate research of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the last 1 Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using Micro-Combs, Researchers Demonstrate World’s Fastest Optical Neuromorphic Processor for AI

January 13, 2021

Neuromorphic computing, which uses chips that mimic the behavior of the human brain using virtual “neurons,” is growing in popularity thanks to high-profile efforts from Intel and others. Now, a team of researchers l Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Now Available – Amazon EC2 C6gn Instances with 100 Gbps Networking

Amazon EC2 C6gn instances powered by AWS Graviton2 processors are now available!

Compared to C6g instances, this new instance type provides 4x higher network bandwidth, 4x higher packet processing performance, and 2x higher EBS bandwidth. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Intel Keynote Address

Intel is the foundation of HPC – from the workstation to the cloud to the backbone of the Top500. At SC20, Intel’s Trish Damkroger, VP and GM of high performance computing, addresses the audience to show how Intel and its partners are building the future of HPC today, through hardware and software technologies that accelerate the broad deployment of advanced HPC systems. Read more…

Honing In on AI, US Launches National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office

January 13, 2021

To drive American leadership in the field of AI into the future, the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office has been launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The new agen Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

Pat Gelsinger Returns to Intel as CEO

January 14, 2021

The Intel board of directors has appointed a new CEO. Intel alum Pat Gelsinger is leaving his post as CEO of VMware to rejoin the company that he parted ways with 11 years ago. Gelsinger will succeed Bob Swan, who will remain CEO until Feb. 15. Gelsinger previously spent 30 years... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

By John Russell

Intel ‘Ice Lake’ Server Chips in Production, Set for Volume Ramp This Quarter

January 12, 2021

Intel Corp. used this week’s virtual CES 2021 event to reassert its dominance of the datacenter with the formal roll out of its next-generation server chip, the 10nm Xeon Scalable processor that targets AI and HPC workloads. The third-generation “Ice Lake” family... Read more…

By George Leopold

Researchers Say It Won’t Be Possible to Control Superintelligent AI

January 11, 2021

Worries about out-of-control AI aren’t new. Many prominent figures have suggested caution when unleashing AI. One quote that keeps cropping up is (roughly) th Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Files Patent on New GPU Chiplet Approach

January 5, 2021

Advanced Micro Devices is accelerating the GPU chiplet race with the release of a U.S. patent application for a device that incorporates high-bandwidth intercon Read more…

By George Leopold

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

Intel Touts Optane Performance, Teases Next-gen “Crow Pass”

January 5, 2021

Competition to leverage new memory and storage hardware with new or improved software to create better storage/memory schemes has steadily gathered steam during Read more…

By John Russell

Farewell 2020: Bleak, Yes. But a Lot of Good Happened Too

December 30, 2020

Here on the cusp of the new year, the catchphrase ‘2020 hindsight’ has a distinctly different feel. Good riddance, yes. But also proof of science’s power Read more…

By John Russell

Esperanto Unveils ML Chip with Nearly 1,100 RISC-V Cores

December 8, 2020

At the RISC-V Summit today, Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies, announced a new, RISC-V based chip aimed at machine learning and containing nearly 1,100 low-power cores based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Esperanto Technologies, headquartered in... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

By John Russell

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

By Tracey Bryant

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chipmaker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the European Union begin scrutinizing the impact of the blockbuster deal on semiconductor industry competition and innovation, the deal has at the very least... Read more…

By George Leopold

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