SLATE Update: Making Math Libraries Exascale-ready

By John Russell

August 9, 2018

Practically-speaking, achieving exascale computing requires enabling HPC software to effectively use accelerators – mostly GPUs at present – and that remains something of a challenge. Consider Summit, the U.S. supercomputer at ORNL, which captured the top spot on the Top500 list in June. Summit has 4,356 nodes, each with two IBM 22-core Power9 CPUs and six Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs. It’s the GPUs that provide most of the performance speedup, and math libraries, in particular, must be able to take advantage of them to speed up HPC applications.

The SLATE project – Software for Linear Algebra Targeting Exascale – is intended to help solve the accelerator-readiness problem. Last week the U.S. Exascale Computing Project (ECP) posted a video interview with Jakub Kurzak, co-PI on SLATE, updating progress. It’s brief, breezy and worth watching given how foundational math libraries are for HPC applications. SLATE is intended to replace the 20-plus year-old Scalable Linear Algebra PACKage (ScaLAPACK) library, currently the industry standard for dense linear algebra operations in distributed memory environments.

“The main motivation for rewriting ScaLAPACK [is] it is very hard to imagine an accelerated ScaLAPACK,” says Kurzak. “If you look at where HPC is going, if you look at the big machine here, Summit, you see immediately the need. To put a number on it, something like 98 percent of the Summit’s performance is in its GPUs.” If codes are not GPU-accelerated, “you won’t reach exascale,” he says.

As described on the SLATE website:

“SLATE aims to extract the full performance potential and maximum scalability from modern, many-node HPC machines with large numbers of cores and multiple hardware accelerators per node. For typical dense linear algebra workloads, this means getting close to the theoretical peak performance and scaling to the full size of the machine (i.e., thousands to tens of thousands of nodes). This is to be accomplished in a portable manner by relying on standards like MPI and OpenMP.

“SLATE functionalities will first be delivered to the ECP applications that most urgently require SLATE capabilities (e.g., EXascale Atomistics with Accuracy, Length, and Time [EXAALT], NorthWest computational Chemistry for Exascale [NWChemEx], Quantum Monte Carlo PACKage [QMCPACK], General Atomic and Molecular Electronic Structure System [GAMESS], CANcer Distributed Learning Environment [CANDLE]) and to other software libraries that rely on underlying dense linear algebra services (e.g., Factorization Based Sparse Solvers and Preconditioners [FBSS]). SLATE will also fill the void left by ScaLAPACK’s inability to utilize hardware accelerators, and it will ease the difficulties associated with ScaLAPACK’s legacy matrix layout and Fortran API.”

These are ambitious goals. Kurzak and co-PI Jack Dongarra, both of the University of Tennessee’s Innovative Computing Laboratory (ICL), lead a group of roughly eight researchers dedicated to the ECP project. In the video, Kurzak is interviewed by Mike Bernhardt, ECP communications manager, and they discuss what’s been accomplished, what’s expected in the next year or so, and some of the challenges.

 

Presented here, slightly edited, are a few of Kurzak’s comments.

“We’ve spent a lot of time laying out the foundations making sure the architecture is solid. In terms of functionality we haven’t released all that much, but we have released some routines for basic linear algebra operations. If you want to multiply to really large matrices right now and get GPU acceleration, SLATE has these kinds of routines. We [also] released a batch of matrix norms routines. Now we’re working on a really exciting batch of routines for solving linear systems. I think our user base should explode when we release the linear solvers at the end of this quarter,” he says.

“[By] the end of 2019 SLATE should be a solid replacement for ScaLAPACK. At least for the most important parts of ScaLAPACK. It should offer a viable replacement for GPU acceleration. That being said we designed the package to be much more flexible than ScaLAPACK so we should be able to go way beyond [its] capabilities as we go beyond 2019. There’s a lot of exciting things I think we can do algorithmically in SLATE and cater to many more applications in terms of what kinds of problems we can solve, what sizes, what types of matrices.”

Kurzak notes SLATE is the first major project at ICL to be implemented in C++. “That’s a bit barrier to adoption initially, but I have to say it’s been a blessing [because] I think the choice of the C++ language, the shift from C, is probably going to be one of the key technologies that will contribute to SLATE’s success.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, recruitment and retention are among SLATE’s most difficult challenges.

“You want somebody that does know C++ well, somebody who definitely knows MPI, and oh yes knows multithreading too, and yes, knows GPU programming too, and yes, knows linear algebra. That is a long list of requirements. The assumption is we’ll hire somebody who does not know everything but will pick it up on the job. Nevertheless the barrier to entry is pretty high.”

Interestingly, enthusiasm is the number one factor he is looking for.

Link to ECP post: https://www.exascaleproject.org/video-highlight-ecps-slate-project-aims-to-provide-basic-dense-matrix-operations/

Link SLATE site: https://www.exascaleproject.org/project/slate-software-linear-algebra-targeting-exascale/

Link to SLATE poster: https://www.exascaleproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ECP-Meeting-Poster-SLATE.pdf

Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS5aPAcaNbY

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!

Q&A with Google’s Bill Magro, an HPCwire Person to Watch in 2021

June 11, 2021

Last Fall Bill Magro joined Google as CTO of HPC, a newly created position, after two decades at Intel, where he was responsible for the company's HPC strategy. This interview was conducted by email at the beginning of A Read more…

A Carbon Crisis Looms Over Supercomputing. How Do We Stop It?

June 11, 2021

Supercomputing is extraordinarily power-hungry, with many of the top systems measuring their peak demand in the megawatts due to powerful processors and their correspondingly powerful cooling systems. As a result, these Read more…

Honeywell Quantum and Cambridge Quantum Plan to Merge; More to Follow?

June 10, 2021

Earlier this week, Honeywell announced plans to merge its quantum computing business, Honeywell Quantum Solutions (HQS), which focuses on trapped ion hardware, with the U.K.-based Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC), which Read more…

ISC21 Keynoter Xiaoxiang Zhu to Deliver a Bird’s-Eye View of a Changing World

June 10, 2021

ISC High Performance 2021 – once again virtual due to the ongoing pandemic – is swiftly approaching. In contrast to last year’s conference, which canceled its in-person component with a couple months’ notice, ISC Read more…

Xilinx Expands Versal Chip Family With 7 New Versal AI Edge Chips

June 10, 2021

FPGA chip vendor Xilinx has been busy over the last several years cranking out its Versal AI Core, Versal Premium and Versal Prime chip families to fill customer compute needs in the cloud, datacenters, networks and more. Now Xilinx is expanding its reach to the booming edge... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Building highly-available HPC infrastructure on AWS

Reminder: You can learn a lot from AWS HPC engineers by subscribing to the HPC Tech Short YouTube channel, and following the AWS HPC Blog channel. Read more…

Space Weather Prediction Gets a Supercomputing Boost

June 9, 2021

Solar winds are a hot topic in the HPC world right now, with supercomputer-powered research spanning from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (which used Oak Ridge’s Titan system) to University College London (which used resources from the DiRAC HPC facility). One of the larger... Read more…

A Carbon Crisis Looms Over Supercomputing. How Do We Stop It?

June 11, 2021

Supercomputing is extraordinarily power-hungry, with many of the top systems measuring their peak demand in the megawatts due to powerful processors and their c Read more…

Honeywell Quantum and Cambridge Quantum Plan to Merge; More to Follow?

June 10, 2021

Earlier this week, Honeywell announced plans to merge its quantum computing business, Honeywell Quantum Solutions (HQS), which focuses on trapped ion hardware, Read more…

ISC21 Keynoter Xiaoxiang Zhu to Deliver a Bird’s-Eye View of a Changing World

June 10, 2021

ISC High Performance 2021 – once again virtual due to the ongoing pandemic – is swiftly approaching. In contrast to last year’s conference, which canceled Read more…

Xilinx Expands Versal Chip Family With 7 New Versal AI Edge Chips

June 10, 2021

FPGA chip vendor Xilinx has been busy over the last several years cranking out its Versal AI Core, Versal Premium and Versal Prime chip families to fill customer compute needs in the cloud, datacenters, networks and more. Now Xilinx is expanding its reach to the booming edge... Read more…

What is Thermodynamic Computing and Could It Become Important?

June 3, 2021

What, exactly, is thermodynamic computing? (Yes, we know everything obeys thermodynamic laws.) A trio of researchers from Microsoft, UC San Diego, and Georgia Tech have written an interesting viewpoint in the June issue... Read more…

AMD Introduces 3D Chiplets, Demos Vertical Cache on Zen 3 CPUs

June 2, 2021

At Computex 2021, held virtually this week, AMD showcased a new 3D chiplet architecture that will be used for future high-performance computing products set to Read more…

Nvidia Expands Its Certified Server Models, Unveils DGX SuperPod Subscriptions

June 2, 2021

Nvidia is busy this week at the virtual Computex 2021 Taipei technology show, announcing an expansion of its nascent Nvidia-certified server program, a range of Read more…

Using HPC Cloud, Researchers Investigate the COVID-19 Lab Leak Hypothesis

May 27, 2021

At the end of 2019, strange pneumonia cases started cropping up in Wuhan, China. As Wuhan (then China, then the world) scrambled to contain what would, of cours Read more…

AMD Chipmaker TSMC to Use AMD Chips for Chipmaking

May 8, 2021

TSMC has tapped AMD to support its major manufacturing and R&D workloads. AMD will provide its Epyc Rome 7702P CPUs – with 64 cores operating at a base cl Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Berkeley Lab Debuts Perlmutter, World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer

May 27, 2021

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held virtually at Berkeley Lab's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) today marked the official launch of Perlmutter – aka NERSC-9 – the GPU-accelerated supercomputer built by HPE in partnership with Nvidia and AMD. Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Google Launches TPU v4 AI Chips

May 20, 2021

Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke for only one minute and 42 seconds about the company’s latest TPU v4 Tensor Processing Units during his keynote at the Google I Read more…

Iran Gains HPC Capabilities with Launch of ‘Simorgh’ Supercomputer

May 18, 2021

Iran is said to be developing domestic supercomputing technology to advance the processing of scientific, economic, political and military data, and to strengthen the nation’s position in the age of AI and big data. On Sunday, Iran unveiled the Simorgh supercomputer, which will deliver.... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

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…

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…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

Microsoft to Provide World’s Most Powerful Weather & Climate Supercomputer for UK’s Met Office

April 22, 2021

More than 14 months ago, the UK government announced plans to invest £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion) into weather and climate supercomputing, including procuremen Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire