Summit Achieves 445 Petaflops on New ‘HPL-AI’ Benchmark

By Oliver Peckham

June 19, 2019

Summit — the world’s top-ranking supercomputer — has been used to test-drive a new mixed-precision Linpack benchmark, which for now is being called HPL-AI.

Traditionally, supercomputer performance is measured using the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, which is the basis for the Top500 list that biannually ranks world’s fastest supercomputers. The Linpack benchmark tests a supercomputer’s ability to conduct high-performance tasks (like simulations) that use double-precision math. On June’s Top500 list, announced Monday, Summit’s 148 Linpack petaflops land it first place by a comfortable margin.

Using that same machine configuration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Nvidia have tested Summit on HPL-AI and gotten a result of 445 petaflops.

A different kind of benchmark

The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Credit: ORNL)

While the HPL benchmark tests supercomputers’ performance in double-precision math, AI is a rapidly growing use case for supercomputers — and most AI models use mixed-precision math.

The HPL-AI benchmark is specifically designed to bridge this gap in evaluation, complementing — rather than supplanting — the traditional HPL approach. Based on the HPL standard, HPL-AI adds mixed-precision calculations to evaluate AI model performance.

“Mixed-precision techniques have become increasingly important to improve the computing efficiency of supercomputers, both for traditional simulations with iterative refinement techniques as well as for AI applications,” said Jack Dongarra, who introduced Linpack in the late 1970s. “Just as HPL allows benchmarking of double-precision capabilities, this new approach based on HPL allows benchmarking of mixed-precision capabilities of supercomputers at scale.”

Reaching new peaks of performance

Jack Dongarra presenting on the results at ISC 2019 (June 19, 2019)

Nvidia and ORNL tested the HPL-AI benchmark on Summit. The behemoth supercomputer — built by IBM, Mellanox and Nvidia and equipped with 9,216 IBM Power9 CPUs and 27,648 Nvidia Volta V100 GPUs — blazed through the computations, completing the test in half an hour (compared to its 90-minute HPL run). Its performance was rated at 445 petaflops — nearly half an exaflops, and triple Summit’s 148 petaflops performance on HPL.

This benchmark marks a few significant accomplishments — one, of course for Summit; another for GPU-based supercomputing; and a third for the HPC-AI benchmark itself.

“Ever since the delivery and installation of our 200-petaflops Summit system — which included the mixed-precision Tensor Core capability powered by Nvidia’s Volta GPU — it has been a goal of ours to not only use this unique aspect of the system to do AI but also to use it in our traditional HPC workloads,” said Jeff Nichols, associate laboratory director at ORNL. “Achieving a 445 petaflops mixed-precision result on HPL (equivalent to our 148 petaflops [double-precision] result) demonstrates that this system is capable of delivering up to 3x more performance on our traditional and AI workloads. This gives us a huge competitive edge in delivering science at an unprecedented scale.”

Nvidia is hoping that the HPC-AI benchmark can become a new, complementary standard for the supercomputing industry, much like the Green500 list became a standard measure of efficiency.

“Today, no benchmark measures the mixed-precision capabilities of the largest-scale supercomputing systems the way the original HPL does for double-precision capabilities,” wrote Ian Buck, general manager and vice president of Accelerated Computing at Nvidia. “HPL-AI can fill this need, showing how a supercomputing system might handle mixed-precision workloads such as large-scale AI.”

In a blog post, Buck highlighted several use cases (included below) for which scientists are turning to mixed-precision supercomputing.

Nuclear fusion

Nuclear fusion is effectively replicating the sun in a bottleWhile it promises unlimited clean energy, nuclear fusion reactions involve working with temperatures above 10 million degrees Celsius. They’re also prone to disruptions — and tricky to sustain for more than a few seconds. Researchers at ORNL are simulating fusion reactions so that physicists can study the instabilities of plasma fusion, giving them a better understanding of what’s happening inside the reactor. The mixed-precision capabilities of Tensor Core GPUs speed up these simulations by 3.5x to advance the development of sustainable energy at leading facilities such as ITER.

Identifying new molecules

Whether it’s to develop a new chemical compound for industrial use or a new drug to treat a disease, scientists need to identify and synthesize new molecules with desirable chemical properties. Using NVIDIA V100 GPUs for training and inference, Dow Chemical Company researchers developed a neural network to identify new molecules for use in the chemical manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.

Seismic fault interpretation

The oil and gas industry analyzes seismic images to detect fault lines, an essential step toward characterizing reservoirs and determining well placement. This process typically takes days to weeks for one iteration — but with an NVIDIA GPU, University of Texas researchers trained an AI model that can predict faults in mere milliseconds instead.


Tiffany Trader contributed to this report.

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!

Multiverse Targets ‘Quantum Computing for the Masses’

January 19, 2022

The race to deliver quantum computing solutions that shield users from the underlying complexity of quantum computing is heating up quickly. One example is Multiverse Computing, a European company, which today launched the second financial services product in its Singularity product group. The new offering, Fair Price, “delivers a higher accuracy in fair price calculations for financial... Read more…

Students at SC21: Out in Front, Alongside and Behind the Scenes

January 19, 2022

The Supercomputing Conference (SC) is one of the biggest international conferences dedicated to high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. SC21 was a true ‘hybrid’ conference, with a total of 380 o Read more…

New Algorithm Overcomes Hurdle in Fusion Energy Simulation

January 15, 2022

The exascale era has brought with it a bevy of fusion energy simulation projects, aiming to stabilize the notoriously delicate—and so far, unmastered—clean energy source that would transform the world virtually overn Read more…

Summit Powers Novel Protein Function Prediction Work

January 13, 2022

There are hundreds of millions of sequenced proteins and counting—but only 170,000 have had their structures solved by researchers, bottlenecking our understanding of proteins and their functions across organisms’ ge Read more…

Q-Ctrl – Tackling Quantum Hardware’s Noise Problems with Software

January 13, 2022

Implementing effective error mitigation and correction is a critical next step in advancing quantum computing. While a lot of attention has been given to efforts to improve the underlying ‘noisy’ hardware, there's be Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

shutterstock 377963800

New – Amazon EC2 Hpc6a Instance Optimized for High Performance Computing

High Performance Computing (HPC) allows scientists and engineers to solve complex, compute-intensive problems such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), weather forecasting, and genomics. Read more…

Nvidia Defends Arm Acquisition Deal: a ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’

January 13, 2022

GPU-maker Nvidia is continuing to try to keep its proposed acquisition of British chip IP vendor Arm Ltd. alive, despite continuing concerns from several governments around the world. In its latest action, Nvidia filed a 29-page response to the U.K. government to point out a list of potential benefits of the proposed $40 billion deal. Read more…

Multiverse Targets ‘Quantum Computing for the Masses’

January 19, 2022

The race to deliver quantum computing solutions that shield users from the underlying complexity of quantum computing is heating up quickly. One example is Multiverse Computing, a European company, which today launched the second financial services product in its Singularity product group. The new offering, Fair Price, “delivers a higher accuracy in fair price calculations for financial... Read more…

Students at SC21: Out in Front, Alongside and Behind the Scenes

January 19, 2022

The Supercomputing Conference (SC) is one of the biggest international conferences dedicated to high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. SC Read more…

Q-Ctrl – Tackling Quantum Hardware’s Noise Problems with Software

January 13, 2022

Implementing effective error mitigation and correction is a critical next step in advancing quantum computing. While a lot of attention has been given to effort Read more…

Nvidia Defends Arm Acquisition Deal: a ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’

January 13, 2022

GPU-maker Nvidia is continuing to try to keep its proposed acquisition of British chip IP vendor Arm Ltd. alive, despite continuing concerns from several governments around the world. In its latest action, Nvidia filed a 29-page response to the U.K. government to point out a list of potential benefits of the proposed $40 billion deal. Read more…

Nvidia Buys HPC Cluster Management Company Bright Computing

January 10, 2022

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia today announced that it has acquired HPC cluster management company Bright Computing for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s bid to purchase semiconductor IP company Arm, which has been stymied by regulatory challenges, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that aims to expand... Read more…

SC21 Panel on Programming Models – Tackling Data Movement, DSLs, More

January 6, 2022

How will programming future systems differ from current practice? This is an ever-present question in computing. Yet it has, perhaps, never been more pressing g Read more…

Edge to Exascale: A Trend to Watch in 2022

January 5, 2022

Edge computing is an approach in which the data is processed and analyzed at the point of origin – the place where the data is generated. This is done to make data more accessible to end-point devices, or users, and to reduce the response time for data requests. HPC-class computing and networking technologies are critical to many edge use cases, and the intersection of HPC and ‘edge’ promises to be a hot topic in 2022. Read more…

Citing ‘Shortfalls,’ NOAA Targets Hundred-Fold HPC Increase Over Next Decade

January 5, 2022

From upgrading the Global Forecast System (GFS) to acquiring new supercomputers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been making big moves in the HPC sphere over the last few years—but now it’s setting the bar even higher. In a new report, NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) highlighted... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Nvidia Buys HPC Cluster Management Company Bright Computing

January 10, 2022

Graphics chip powerhouse Nvidia today announced that it has acquired HPC cluster management company Bright Computing for an undisclosed sum. Unlike Nvidia’s bid to purchase semiconductor IP company Arm, which has been stymied by regulatory challenges, the Bright deal is a straightforward acquisition that aims to expand... Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Lessons from LLVM: An SC21 Fireside Chat with Chris Lattner

December 27, 2021

Today, the LLVM compiler infrastructure world is essentially inescapable in HPC. But back in the 2000 timeframe, LLVM (low level virtual machine) was just getting its start as a new way of thinking about how to overcome shortcomings in the Java Virtual Machine. At the time, Chris Lattner was a graduate student of... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Three Universities Team for NSF-Funded ‘ACES’ Reconfigurable Supercomputer Prototype

September 23, 2021

As Moore’s law slows, HPC developers are increasingly looking for speed gains in specialized code and specialized hardware – but this specialization, in turn, can make testing and deploying code trickier than ever. Now, researchers from Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana... 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…

Top500: No Exascale, Fugaku Still Reigns, Polaris Debuts at #12

November 15, 2021

No exascale for you* -- at least, not within the High-Performance Linpack (HPL) territory of the latest Top500 list, issued today from the 33rd annual Supercomputing Conference (SC21), held in-person in St. Louis, Mo., and virtually, from Nov. 14–19. "We were hoping to have the first exascale system on this list but that didn’t happen," said Top500 co-author... Read more…

TACC Unveils Lonestar6 Supercomputer

November 1, 2021

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is unveiling its latest supercomputer: Lonestar6, a three peak petaflops Dell system aimed at supporting researchers Read more…

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…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire