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!

Nvidia Aims Clara Healthcare at Drug Discovery, Imaging via DGX

April 12, 2021

Nvidia Corp. continues to expand its Clara healthcare platform with the addition of computational drug discovery and medical imaging tools based on its DGX A100 platform, related InfiniBand networking and its AGX develop Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fledged partner to CPUs and GPUs in delivering advanced computi Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” The newly announced SuperPods come just two years after the Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fle Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... 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…

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…

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…

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…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... 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…

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…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing 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

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…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite 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…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective 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…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire