Singapore Startup Hatches At-Scale HPC Dev Cloud

By Tiffany Trader

April 26, 2019

At most supercomputer centers, it’s common practice to allocate 10 percent or less of the machine for application development purposes. Such limited availability especially hampers development projects intended for large-scale deployments. Some organizations do not have any on-premise cycles for their code development and others may be looking to evaluate architectures not easily accessible or not even on the market yet.

A new company aims to address all these scenarios with custom-built HPC development systems that are available on demand in the cloud.

In an ambitious undertaking, Singapore-based startup Archanan emerged from stealth yesterday with the beta launch of its cloud-based developer platform for building and testing at-scale code. Founded in February 2018 by computer engineers and NYU Stony Brook alums Alexander Nodeland and Lukasz Orlowski, Archanan has backing from multiple VCs in the Singapore area, including primary investor SGInnovate.

In February 2019, Archanan (pronounced “are-KAY-nin” – Men in Black fans may recall the reference) raised a SGD$1.2 million (USD $881k) seed round and currently has several partnerships in play with OEMs and well-known supercomputing centers. John Gustafson of Gustafson’s law fame is the company’s lead scientific advisor.

Although there exist a number of development environment toolkits in the market as well as an array of HPC cloud infrastructures, Archanan combines these front and back ends, further baking in hardware-level virtualization to provide HPC developers with a functional replica of their production or target architecture.

Organizations accepted into the beta program will access personalized virtual test environments that are an emulation of their organizations’ production system(s) via the Archanan development platform. Archanan’s web-based IDE allows users to debug large parallel jobs in C and C++ and Python on a few different emulated supercomputers, including NSCC Singapore’s Aspire-1. Users can also construct custom system designs, based on a small, but growing number of hardware options.

“The Archanan IDE provides a purpose-built parallel debugger and visualization tools where you can develop code at scale,” said Nodeland. “In the future, we will be expanding the library of available supercomputer emulators and we’ll also be expanding the availability of tools – both built in house and some community tools.”

The testing environment, provided via cloud infrastructure (Amazon Web Services is a partner), employs a combination of virtualization, emulation and encapsulation technologies enabling users to predict performance metrics without having to run all the production servers. The goal, said Nodeland in an interview with HPCwire, is to enable the offloading of all HPC development effort to the cloud.

“One of the primary reasons why more organizations, especially in the commercial space, aren’t utilizing the power of modern supercomputers, is the considerable challenge of effective coding at these larger, more complex scales,” said Gustafson, esteemed computer scientist and visiting scientist at A*STAR – Agency for Science, Technology and Research. “There is a big gap between a laptop and that of a remote, giant collection of distributed, interconnected processors. By combining hardware-level virtualization and cloud computing, Archanan has figured out how to bridge both the technical, but also economical gaps that have presented adoption challenges for computing at this level. It’s exciting to see that we’re on the precipice of the democratization of high-performance computing across industries, at last.”

With multiple layers of abstraction in the stack, these testing and debugging systems are not intended to replicate the performance of the production environment, rather they address the pain points faced by many HPC developers stemming from limited access to production machine cycles.

“We provide an on-demand environment where users can develop their code at scale, meaning that if they are going to be running their production application on 30,000 cores, they can do their development on a virtual 30,000 cores, specifically to test how the network is going to behave in such a scenario, how MPI is going to behave, etc.,” said Nodeland.

Cited benefits include faster time to results due to shortened development time, developing code at the target production scale, and the subsequent minimization of port-over failures from the development to the production environment.

The company is confident it can ensure a high degree of scalability – outside of, possibly, the top 10 or 20 leadership machines. A white paper is in the works that will document internal performance.

To onboard a new supercomputing center onto its platform, Archanan gets together with the applications specialists, the solution architects and the support team for the supercomputing center to build the model with them. It employs all the same software packages, the same compiler, the same version of Linux, etc. (encapsulated in a Singularity container) and emulates down to the component level — the processors, the accelerators, and the network elements.

This is a two-week to two-month process during which the Archanan team fine tunes the emulator so it can accurately predict performance.

The Archanan development platform currently includes support for x86 provided by Intel and AMD, and also for Arm. Nvidia K80s and P100s GPUs are also supported. The company is working on support for Power 9 and Power 10, as well as NEC Vector Engines. Emulation for other architectures, including FPGAs, are on Archanan’s roadmap.

HPC sites participating in the beta program access the platform via a yearly or monthly subscription with a mechanism for overflow billing based on virtual node hours. Another use case enables OEMs or systems integrators to provide their customers with an evaluation system during the tendering and commissioning process. In that model, Archanan emulates the supercomputer for some fraction of the cost of the machine.

A third, forthcoming, usage model will be individual or group licenses. Archanan plans to offer monthly memberships through the Github marketplace so smaller users can try the system and run tests for their own jobs even if their organizations are not customers.

Archanan says its beta roster includes supercomputing centers and research groups based in Singapore, Australia and China.

While Archanan is going after traditional and enterprise HPC for its initial target market, Nodeland foresees expanding to more general AI, machine learning and big data workloads. The company has recently increased its workforce from two to seven employees, and has several open positions it is hiring for. It expects to expand its staff to 15 by year end.

Nodeland acknowledged there is work to be done building up their libraries. Given the heavy lift, it’s encouraging that the company has garnered the support of Gustafson as well as Wolfgang Gentzsch, co-founder and CEO of The UberCloud.

“Virtually all the software development tools in high-end, complex computing are used on desktop workstations and laptops, drastically limiting the development and debugging capability of these tools — it’s analogous to trying to recreate a masterpiece on an Etch-a-Sketch,” said Wolfgang Gentzsch, co-founder and CEO of The UberCloud. “Archanan’s cloud-based development platform extends these workstations and lets developers construct their code at scale, as if they were doing it directly on these large, complex architectures, thus creating better quality software in shorter time.”

 

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!

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced computing technologies for the AI and exascale era. "Over th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has now encompassed CPUs offered by the leading public cloud serv Read more…

By Doug Black

Medical Imaging Gets an AI Boost

December 3, 2019

AI technologies incorporated into diagnostic imaging tools have proven useful in eliminating confirmation bias, often outperforming human clinicians who may bring their own prejudices. Another issue slowing progress is t Read more…

By George Leopold

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science itself. At SC19, Steve Squyres’ opening keynote recounting th Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

AI Needs Intelligent HPC infrastructure

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized entire industries and enables humanity to solve some of the most daunting challenges. To accomplish this, it requires massive amounts of data from heterogeneous sources that is processed it new ways that differs significantly from HPC applications. Read more…

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has n Read more…

By Doug Black

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science its Read more…

By John Russell

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Tsinghua University Racks Up Its Ninth Student Cluster Championship Win at SC19

November 27, 2019

Tsinghua University has done it again. At SC19 last week, the eight-time gold medal-winner team took home the top prize in the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

How the Gordon Bell Prize Winners Used Summit to Illuminate Transistors

November 22, 2019

At SC19, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) awarded the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. The Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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