ISC19 Cluster Competition: HPCC Deep Dive

By Dan Olds

July 7, 2019

The biggest benchmark the student warriors tackled during the ISC19 Student Cluster Competition was the colossal HPC Challenge. This is a collection of benchmarks that has a little something for everyone, from memory bandwidth fans to those who can’t get enough raw number crunching. The HPC Challenge benchmark is run as a single job. However, there are some limited ways to optimize and tune the benchmarks before you run them.

We consulted a long-time HPC expert who bills himself as a “former slimy benchmarker” who knows the ins and outs of benchmarking and has used them for both good and evil. When contacted, he said that students have to intimately know the Three Rules of Benchmarking:

“The first rule of benchmarking is read the rules; the second rule of benchmarking is read the rules. And the third rule of benchmarking is to obey the first two rules.”

With that sage advice, let’s take a look at the detailed student scores for HPCC…

HPL is an old friend to most benchmarkers:  they know it, they love it. Or at least know how to work it. While the students run LINPACK to qualify for the Highest LINPACK award, they run it again as part of the HPCC benchmark.

CHPC narrowly beat out EPCC for a win on HPL, with Nanyang coming in third place. The average and median scores for the field are kind of low, which is a bit of a surprise to me since the students have had so much practice on it.

 

 

P-TRANS is a benchmark that measures the rate at which a system can transpose a large matrix on its diagonal. Depending on the size of the matrix, this can be pretty demanding computationally. It’s possible, and within the HPCC rules, to use a linear algebra library, like BLAS, to optimize the process.

CHPC scored another win on P-TRANS with a score of 49.42 GB/s, well ahead of ETH Zurich’s score of 43.51. University of Hamburg makes their first appearance on the leaderboard with their third place finish. Tsinghua earns an honorable mention for their score of 35.76. All of our top finishers were way above the average and median scores for P-TRANS.

 

 

Random Access measures how quickly the system can access memory pages, loading page after page of memory. This one isn’t so much about tuning as it is about having a hardware set up that has good memory characteristics, such as fast DIMMs and low latency. It also helps to have a single DIMM per memory channel. Our former slimey benchmarker says: “Nothing they can do on this except set up for big pages, if they know how to do that – which they certainly should, in my opinion.”

Sun Yat-Sen schooled the rest of their field with their dominating score of 1.1 Gup/sec, which is a serious number of giga updates. Nanyang pulled second place with a score of .50 and Tsinghua was well back with .35 to take third. EPCC earns a mention because their score was well above the average and median scores, nice job.

 

FFTE (Fast Fournier Transform):  FFTE is an algorithm that converts a signal, usually time or space, into a value in a frequency domain. FFTE is often used in engineering, science and mathematics. “Depending on the matrix size, a FFTE library could improve performance, but they don’t know the matrix size coming in, so too bad….”says our slimy benchmarker.

CHPC dominated FFTE by more than doubling the score of the second-place Sun Yat-Sen. EPCC Edinburgh got on the board with a distant third-place finish.

 

 

DEGMM:  This is a benchmark that multiplies matrices, which is a lot of multiplication as it turns out. Our slimy bench marker says “you can’t do much on DEGMM and stay within the rules, but you can use different compilers and different options within the compilers to find the optimal set for their machine.”

It looks like Tsinghua did exactly that and it paid off. Their score of 2,691.93 was more than double that of second-place Nanyang Tech. Our buddies from UPC make the leaderboard with their 958 score, which is a pretty damned good result for a team that’s driving Arm processors. Great job.

 

 

 

STREAM is a memory bandwidth test. According to our slimy benchmarker, “…more and faster DIMMs are key here, and big pages will make a difference. Need to have a DIMM in every DIMM slot and a motherboard that can drive them.”

Tsinghua, a team that had the highest performance cluster in our evaluation, handily grabbed the STREAM crown by dominating the rest of the field with their score of 816 GB/s. Nanyang took second place with their score of 347.27. The Warsaw Warriors put themselves on the board with a third-place score of 240.74, despite driving a brand new architecture, the NEC Aurora vector system.

 

 

Random Ring Bandwidth is a test of MPI bandwidth that measures two cases of MPI bandwidth:  1) a non-simultaneous ping pong that tests MPI bandwidth with no contention, and 2) a simultaneous communication that uses random and ring patterns to measure bandwidth with MPI contention.

Random Ring Latency tests the latency of system communications using the same mechanisms as the bandwidth test.

In the bandwidth test, the higher the score, the better. In the latency test, lower is better.

In the ISC19 HPCC benchmark, Nanyang Tech is the Lord of the Rings, taking the top scores in both benchmarks. Tsinghua took second in the ring tests. The team from NCKU, which has the most rudimentary cluster in the competition (although it’s the best price-performer), grabbed third in both tests, putting them on the big board for the first time. EPCC took fourth in the bandwidth test while ETH Zurich took fourth on the latency test.

The overall scores tell the story as Tsinghua grabs the top slot with a 100% normalized score and adds a full 10 points to their competition tally. Nanyang grabs second place and 9.4 points. CHPC and Sun Yat-Sen finish a distant third and fourth, but still get their share of points.

While this is a mega-big benchmark, in the whole scheme of things it only counts for 10% of the total competition score – not enough to give anyone an insurmountable advantage or disadvantage. But it’s fun to look at the deep results and highlight the individual performance of the teams.

Quick plug:  check out the Student Cluster Competition Leadership List and see where your favorite team ranks. This is a joint project between the HPC-AI Advisory Council and me and is the culmination of many years of painstaking tracking and research. The list shows every team to ever compete in a Student Cluster Competition and assigns points based on their participation and awards. There are four different cuts of the data, the first being a worldwide ranking, then separate rankings for EMEA, the Americas, and APAC. It will be updated after every competition and more features will be added over time.

In our next articles we’ll be looking at the HPC application scores and then looking at the day-by-day results to show you who won and how they won. Stay tuned….

 

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!

IBM Unveils Latest Achievements in AI Hardware

December 13, 2019

“The increased capabilities of contemporary AI models provide unprecedented recognition accuracy, but often at the expense of larger computational and energetic effort,” IBM Research wrote in a blog post. “Therefor Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Focused on ‘Silicon TAM,’ Intel Puts Gary Patton, Former GlobalFoundries CTO, in Charge of Design Enablement

December 12, 2019

Change within Intel’s upper management – and to its company mission – has continued as a published report has disclosed that chip technology heavyweight Gary Patton, GlobalFoundries’ CTO and R&D SVP as well a Read more…

By Doug Black

Quantum Bits: Rigetti Debuts New Gates, D-Wave Cuts NEC Deal, AWS Jumps into the Quantum Pool

December 12, 2019

There’s been flurry of significant news in the quantum computing world. Yesterday, Rigetti introduced a new family of gates that reduces circuit depth required on some problems and D-Wave struck a deal with NEC to coll Read more…

By John Russell

How Formula 1 Used Cloud HPC to Build the Next Generation of Racing

December 12, 2019

Formula 1, Rob Smedley explained, is maybe the biggest racing spectacle in the world, with five hundred million fans tuning in for every race. Smedley, a chief engineer with Formula 1’s performance engineering and anal Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has been unveiled in upstate New York that will be used by IBM Read more…

By Doug Black

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

GPU Scheduling and Resource Accounting: The Key to an Efficient AI Data Center

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community!]

GPUs are the new CPUs

GPUs have become a staple technology in modern HPC and AI data centers. Read more…

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digital twin for each UAV in the fleet: a virtual model that will follow the UAV through its existence, evolving with time. Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Focused on ‘Silicon TAM,’ Intel Puts Gary Patton, Former GlobalFoundries CTO, in Charge of Design Enablement

December 12, 2019

Change within Intel’s upper management – and to its company mission – has continued as a published report has disclosed that chip technology heavyweight G Read more…

By Doug Black

Quantum Bits: Rigetti Debuts New Gates, D-Wave Cuts NEC Deal, AWS Jumps into the Quantum Pool

December 12, 2019

There’s been flurry of significant news in the quantum computing world. Yesterday, Rigetti introduced a new family of gates that reduces circuit depth require Read more…

By John Russell

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has Read more…

By Doug Black

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digital twin for each UAV in the fleet: a virtual model that will follow the UAV through its existence, evolving with time. Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum proces Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
CEJN
CJEN
DDN
DDN
MELLANOX
MELLANOX
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

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

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

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Opens Quantum Computing Center; Announces 53-Qubit Machine

September 19, 2019

Gauging progress in quantum computing is a tricky thing. IBM yesterday announced the opening of the IBM Quantum Computing Center in New York, with five 20-qubit 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