European exascale efforts continued to advance with the recent standing up of the “Cluster Module” (CM) at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC). CM is one of three systems being built by the DEEP-EST project working to develop a Modular Supercomputing Architecture for Exascale. DEEP – the Dynamical Exascale Entry Platform project – is the EU program begun in 2011 and now in its third phase. DEEP-ER (Extended Reach) worked on architectures; now DEEP-EST (Extreme Scale Technology) is building prototypes.
The core concept is familiar and attractive: “Modular Supercomputer Architecture (MSA) creates a unique HPC system by coupling various compute modules according to the building-block principle. Each module is tailored to the needs of a specific group of applications, and all modules together behave as a single machine. This is guaranteed by connecting them through a high-speed network and, most importantly, operating them with a uniform system software and programming environment. In this way, one application can be distributed over several modules, running each part of its code onto the best suited hardware.”
The DEEP Projects provided a brief update recently. Plans call for standing up three prototypes in 2019 – “[The CM], the Extreme Scale Booster (ESB), and the Data Analytics Module (DAM). CM is a general-purpose cluster and targets low/medium scalable applications, while the ESB is built as a cluster of accelerators to provide energy-efficient computing power to high scalable codes. [The] DAM addresses the specific needs of Machine/Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data applications and workloads.” MEGWARE is the system manufacturer and integrator for MSA prototypes.
According to the update, CM is designed to support a full range of general-purpose HPC cluster applications and workloads. It consists of a single rack with 50 Intel Xeon Scalable Processor-based dual-socket nodes with a Mellanox EDR-InfiniBand 100Gbps high-performance cluster fabric. MEGWARE’s ColdCon direct liquid (hot-water) cooling and SlideSX-LC packaging technologies were also used. Standing up CM is seen as an important milestone in JSC’s strategy around the Modular Supercomputing Architecture.
“We see today how our users increasingly combine different simulation models to reproduce complex phenomena. They also employ both HPC and Data Analytics approaches. This diversifies our user-portfolio enormously, making it hardly possible to fulfill all needs with one supercomputer,” said Prof. Thomas Lippert, director of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, in the announcement. He added: “The DEEP-EST prototype will demonstrate that a Modular Supercomputer is much more flexible than a monolithic one, and matches very diverse application profiles in a cost-effective way.”