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!

GTC 2019: Chief Scientist Bill Dally Provides Glimpse into Nvidia Research Engine

March 22, 2019

Amid the frenzy of GTC this week – Nvidia’s annual conference showcasing all things GPU (and now AI) – William Dally, chief scientist and SVP of research, provided a brief but insightful portrait of Nvidia’s rese Read more…

By John Russell

ORNL Helps Identify Challenges of Extremely Heterogeneous Architectures

March 21, 2019

Exponential growth in classical computing over the last two decades has produced hardware and software that support lightning-fast processing speeds, but advancements are topping out as computing architectures reach thei Read more…

By Laurie Varma

Interview with 2019 Person to Watch Jim Keller

March 21, 2019

On the heels of Intel's reaffirmation that it will deliver the first U.S. exascale computer in 2021, which will feature the company's new Intel Xe architecture, we bring you our interview with our 2019 Person to Watch Jim Keller, head of the Silicon Engineering Group at Intel. Read more…

By HPCwire Editorial Team

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

Insurance: Where’s the Risk?

Insurers are facing extreme competitive challenges in their core businesses. Property and Casualty (P&C) and Life and Health (L&H) firms alike are highly impacted by the ongoing globalization, increasing regulation, and digital transformation of their client bases. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: TensorFlow, Buddy Compression, Intel Optane & More

March 20, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

GTC 2019: Chief Scientist Bill Dally Provides Glimpse into Nvidia Research Engine

March 22, 2019

Amid the frenzy of GTC this week – Nvidia’s annual conference showcasing all things GPU (and now AI) – William Dally, chief scientist and SVP of research, Read more…

By John Russell

At GTC: Nvidia Expands Scope of Its AI and Datacenter Ecosystem

March 19, 2019

In the high-stakes race to provide the AI life-cycle solution of choice, three of the biggest horses in the field are IBM, Intel and Nvidia. While the latter is only a fraction of the size of its two bigger rivals, and has been in business for only a fraction of the time, Nvidia continues to impress with an expanding array of new GPU-based hardware, software, robotics, partnerships and... Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Debuts Clara AI Toolkit with Pre-Trained Models for Radiology Use

March 19, 2019

AI’s push into healthcare got a boost yesterday with Nvidia’s release of the Clara Deploy AI toolkit which includes 13 pre-trained models for use in radiolo Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

Quick Take: Trump’s 2020 Budget Spares DoE-funded HPC but Slams NSF and NIH

March 12, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, released yesterday, proposes deep cuts in many science programs but seems to spare HPC funding by the Depar Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Wins Mellanox Stakes for $6.9 Billion

March 11, 2019

The long-rumored acquisition of Mellanox came to fruition this morning with GPU chipmaker Nvidia’s announcement that it has purchased the high-performance net Read more…

By Doug Black

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

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

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

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

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

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

Move Over Lustre & Spectrum Scale – Here Comes BeeGFS?

November 26, 2018

Is BeeGFS – the parallel file system with European roots – on a path to compete with Lustre and Spectrum Scale worldwide in HPC environments? Frank Herold Read more…

By John Russell

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