Convergence of HPC, AI and Cloud Computing Charted at PEARC19 Keynote

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

August 1, 2019

A trio of keynote presentations from Intel, Google and Microsoft at the PEARC19 conference in Chicago on July 31 charted out the likely future of academic and high-performance computing in the cloud. While each company and presenter carried a distinct message about the opportunities and challenges to moving more open research to cloud services, each also held that cloud providers are learning from the HPC community and adjusting their products and models to make the transition more attractive.

PEARC19, in progress in Chicago this week (July 28-Aug. 1), explores current practice and experience in advanced research computing including modeling, simulation and data-intensive computing. The primary focus this year is on machine learning and artificial intelligence. The PEARC organization coordinates the PEARC conference series to provide a forum for discussing challenges, opportunities and solutions among the broad range of participants in the research computing community.

Redefining HPC

In her presentation “Redefining HPC,” Patricia Damkroger of Intel looked at the paradigm shift that’s moving data analytics and AI into the cloud.

Source: PEARC

“We’ve talked about HPC going to the cloud for at least a decade,” she said. “It’s still not mainstream, but I think that’s changing … The biggest driver is data.”

For varied reasons, she explained, organizations as different as CERN and the Department of Defense have found loading data into the cloud to be a useful expansion of their internal compute capacities that allows collaborative access and maintains internal security, respectively.

Data are also a central need in AI, in which training data have become massive and the infrastructure required for transparency and accuracy expand. AI and HPC, she argued, are converging—or at least ought to.

“We need … to know what the AI is doing to the data. We also need to make sure we have review boards and security built in … The other thing we really need is the inclusive part,” she said citing the problem that much medical research has not been gender or race inclusive and so the results don’t always fully represent the patient population. “AI is going to have to have that full data, or it’s not going to be accurate.” She cited San Diego Supercomputer Center’s Expanse, the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Frontera and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center’s (PSC’s) Bridges-2 as examples of upcoming systems that will play roles in this convergence.

Damkroger shared the podium with Nick Nystrom of PSC, who gave the audience the first public presentation of the center’s new Bridges-2 system. The NSF announced the award for Bridges-2 in June. Bridges-2, built in collaboration with HPE, will feature Intel’s 10nm Ice Lake processor along with other Intel CPUs.

“We’ve been working on this for a while,” he said. “This [system] was a convergence of HPC, AI and data.” Designed for use by “new community” researchers with little or no computing experience and employing the first instance of Intel’s Omni-Path Architecture, Bridges-2’s predecessor, Bridges-1, runs common applications that make it cloud-friendly. The system, Nystrom added, is able to run HPC modeling and simulation alongside common tools such as Jupyter as well as Spark and big-data workflows, bridging work that requires the strengths of HPC and cloud. Bridges-2 will expand on that capability.

Future Is HPC in the Cloud

Google’s Ross Thomson’s keynote “Future Is HPC in the Cloud” surveyed the company’s offerings via Google Cloud Platform to enable true HPC in the cloud.

“There’s always a place for the giant computers people use to do massive simulations” for users with $100 million to fund top-500 systems, he said. But for users—or collections of users—who don’t need such a large system, “you can get a lot of computing done for $100 million on Google Cloud.”

He cited Google Cloud’s capability to provide virtual systems configured to each user’s required size, enabling them to scale up or even scale down without losing their investment as their needs change. HPC in the cloud, he added, can accelerate discovery by reducing queue wait times for large-batch workloads as well as relieve compute-resource limitations.

Are There Closets in the Cloud?

In “Are There Closets in the Cloud?” Microsoft’s Tim Carroll charted the history of academic clusters from dozens of systems in literal closets spread across campuses to the sophisticated—and in many ways optimized—campus systems now in operation. He noted that while some 70 percent of academic HPC centers employ cloud computing, only 10% of their jobs run in the cloud.

Source: PEARC

“The idea is to get more tools in more people’s hands, so that they can do good things with them,” Carroll said. For that to happen, both HPC and cloud providers will need to make cultural changes. “One of the things [in which] I think the cloud providers have done tremendous disservice to ourselves and the community is time and cost being the only metrics that matter in this space.” In some cases, they are; but in public research, ownership over systems, dual use in computer and domain science and different funding models than in the public sector can all make that simple calculus inaccurate.

“All of these machines serve a dual purpose and are not simply a utility,” he said. “One cannot underestimate the impact of that.”

Among others, Carroll cited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—which employs some of the most powerful HPC systems in the world. NOAA is seeking to move its global weather forecast code and capabilities into the cloud. This allows outside collaborators and even citizen scientists open access to spur innovation.

“The tipping point was access, not price,” Carroll said. “[The] evolution and revolution is about opening up computation to domains of science that have never had access before … That’s a really important point to consider when we get a little wrapped around the axle these days about whether the cloud is right for HPC.”

Carroll recommended that HPC users carry out four activities to chart out how they can determine the cost of using the cloud. Step one is to plan, identifying and inventorying workloads that might run well in the cloud. Second, running both obvious workloads and those that may not run as well will generate real data to provide realistic performance expectations. Collaborating with cloud providers can help smooth out cultural differences and produce more accurate estimates. And finally, cost estimation should come at the end of the process rather than the beginning, because workflows drive the true cost.

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!

Stampede2 ‘Shocks’ with New Shock Turbulence Insights

August 19, 2019

Shockwaves play roles in everything from high-speed aircraft to supernovae – and now, supercomputer-powered research from the Texas A&M University and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is helping to shed l Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nanosheet Transistors: The Last Step in Moore’s Law?

August 19, 2019

Forget for a moment the clamor around the decline of Moore’s Law. It's had a brilliant run, something to be marveled at given it’s not a law at all. Squeezing out the last bit of performance that roughly corresponds 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 using standard CMOS fabrication. At Hot Chips 31 in Stanfor Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Solution Channel

Efficiency and Cost-Optimization for HPC Workloads – AWS Batch and Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

High Performance Computing on AWS leverages the power of cloud computing and the extreme scale it offers to achieve optimal HPC price/performance. With AWS you can right size your services to meet exactly the capacity requirements you need without having to overprovision or compromise capacity. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the combined power of HPC and AI to your business transformation

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) acceleration cards are not new, as they’ve been commercially available since 1984. Typically, the emphasis around FPGAs has centered on the fact that they’re programmable accelerators, and that they can truly offer workload specific hardware acceleration solutions without requiring custom silicon. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Keys to Attracting the Newest HPC Talent – Post-Millennials

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

For engineers and scientists growing up in the 80s, the current state of HPC makes perfect sense. Read more…

Talk to Me: Nvidia Claims NLP Inference, Training Records

August 15, 2019

Nvidia says it’s achieved significant advances in conversation natural language processing (NLP) training and inference, enabling more complex, immediate-response interchanges between customers and chatbots. And the co Read more…

By Doug Black

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

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AI is the Next Exascale – Rick Stevens on What that Means and Why It’s Important

August 13, 2019

Twelve years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was just beginning to explore what an exascale computing program might look like and what it might accomplish. Today, DOE is repeating that process for AI, once again starting with science community town halls to gather input and stimulate conversation. The town hall program... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader and John Russell

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

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

Lenovo Drives Single-Socket Servers with AMD Epyc Rome CPUs

August 7, 2019

No summer doldrums here. As part of the AMD Epyc Rome launch event in San Francisco today, Lenovo announced two new single-socket servers, the ThinkSystem SR635 Read more…

By Doug Black

Building Diversity and Broader Engagement in the HPC Community

August 7, 2019

Increasing diversity and inclusion in HPC is a community-building effort. Representation of both issues and individuals matters - the more people see HPC in a w Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

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

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

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

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

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

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl 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

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

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