Summit Has Real-Time Analytics: Here’s How It Happened and What’s Next

By Oliver Peckham

October 3, 2019

Summit – the world’s fastest publicly-ranked supercomputer – now has real-time streaming analytics. At the 2019 HPC User Forum at Argonne National Laboratory, Arno Kolster (principal and co-founder of HPC consultancy Providentia Worldwide) took the stage to explain how it happened – and what it means for the future.

The need for a smarter supercomputer

Summit launched at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the second half of 2018. As of the June 2019 Top500 list, it still held the top spot among the world’s supercomputers, its 2.41 million cores delivering 148.6 Linpack petaflops. That also means a correspondingly massive power draw; Summit’s power consumption is rated at around 13 megawatts, equivalent to the energy draw of over 10,000 homes. That power produces an enormous amount of heat, requiring regular operation of power-hungry water chillers for Summit’s cooling system.

For ORNL, that means that a huge priority is reducing power consumption (and its costs) wherever possible. But a major obstacle remained: there was no mechanism in place that understood Summit’s second-to-second operations at a granular enough level to effectively optimize them.

Left to right: Merle Giles, Arno Kolster and S. Ryan Quick in front of the Summit supercomputer. Image courtesy of Arno Kolster.

This led Jim Rogers, director of computing and facilities at ORNL, to seek out Kolster. Rogers and Kolster, who knew each other from a partnership some six years ago, reconnected at a conference in 2017, where Kolster was speaking about streaming analytics.

“At the end of the talk, Jim pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, can you help us do streaming analytics on Summit? Because I’ve got a problem: I’ve got 4,600 nodes, all streaming data off them, and I have no idea what to do with them,’” Kolster recalled. “And I said, ‘Yeah, we can help you with that.’”

The goal? To have Summit’s immense data streaming directly off the nodes in real-time using a resilient system that could be scaled up without proportional staff increases. 

Summiting a mountain of data

Kolster broke down the magnitude of the data at hand: first and foremost, there were 4,608 nodes, each with 99 metrics to capture per second – most importantly, power to the fans, the node and individual components within the node, such as individual CPU cores, GPU cores, DIMMs and HBMs. Outside the node, there was data from the job scheduler, polled every ten seconds; weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) once an hour; and continuous water flow data from the chillers. 

All in all, about 460,000 metrics per second – with an eye toward expansion.

This didn’t worry Providentia – the founders had handled upwards of seven million events when they were at PayPal – and so, about a year ago, Providentia set about the long process of building streaming analytics for Summit. “The majority of the time was spent on [addressing] the legal hurdles for small business to work with the government. That took probably a couple of months,” Kolster said in an interview with HPCwire. “The other long-term time was spent on crafting the statement of work in a way that we were both happy with it.” Providentia also had to navigate around Summit’s tight security and scheduling. In the end, Kolster said, it was about three months of development over an eight-month period – all done remotely on three small nodes.

Providentia began with a Kafka-based event message bus linked into the data sources. It added data persistence tools: Prometheus as a time series database and Elasticsearch for log metrics and understanding, among others. Docker was used to containerize and scale, and Spark streaming was added for on-the-wire data analytics. Finally, Grafana and Seaborn came into play for data visualization. (“Young people like to play with this stuff,” Kolster said of the long list of technologies, “so it’s a way of getting some of the younger people involved with HPC.”)

And the result? “It’s pretty spectacular,” Kolster said. Near-instant, agnostic data that could be custom-formatted; overlapping metrics with real-time visualizations. Kolster pulled up an example of one of the visualizations, thousands of glittering green cells fading in and out as Summit’s power-per-job fluctuated across its nodes.

A still from a visualization of Summit’s power per job per second fluctuating across its nodes. Image courtesy of Arno Kolster.

A new paradigm

“It’s a new paradigm,” Kolster said. “There’s no more looking at databases for data. There’s no more waiting until tomorrow to look at the data. It’s basically real-time data. What you see right now is what’s happening right now.”

“The largest supercomputer in the world is now being micromanaged by microservices – a cloud thing,” he continued. 

For now, the capabilities of the infrastructure are primarily the instant analytics and visualization that now help system operators to manually adjust Summit’s cooling and optimize job scheduling. Of course, it already has a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve – notably, the ability to alert operators if the temperature in a specific area goes up a certain amount. Kolster also hopes that the new infrastructure will help clients ask (and answer) crucial questions, such as “why is my job spending more time on the CPU than on the GPU?” or “why does my job consume more power than someone else’s job?”

Still, Kolster seems to have his heart truly set on “phase two” of the project, which (for now) remains a speculative endeavor. Phase two would involve leveraging the massive data stream for robust predictive analytics that would, for example, allow Summit to automatically schedule jobs to cooler areas of the cluster. “You could actually have the job scheduler be smart enough to schedule jobs according to their power consumption, based on historical metrics,” Kolster said. “And that’s very powerful, because that’s something that can be done right now.”

“That’s basically where things are heading,” he continued. “You hear about predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics – the basic problem right now is that everyone’s reacting to things instead of being proactive about it. And so we’ve always been more, you know, ‘You’ve got the machinery, you’ve got the computers, you have the analytics – let’s be more proactive about how things are working.’”

Looking ahead

Whether or not Providentia is invited back for phase two of Summit’s analytics infrastructure, Kolster is happy with the results. “We’d love to finish off the second phase of the Oak Ridge project, because we have some really interesting things around AI and machine learning that we think we can bring to bear there,” he said. “But we know full well that they’ve also got some really smart people there that might want to delve into those areas on their own. We’ve built the ‘highway,’ if you will, for them to move cars and trucks around, and now they can do whatever they want with the on-ramps and off-ramps.”

Musing on future applications of Providentia’s approach to Summit, Kolster said that he would prefer to showcase the “full vision” rather than arriving in media res. “I would rather do it up front and be part of the stack that goes in instead of doing it afterwards and retrofitting it in,” he said.  He mentioned that Providentia is talking to two different verticals where the model can be used – and, of course, he said that they would love to work with Frontier, which is expected to be the world’s most powerful system when it launches in 2021.

“It’s not because it’s a new thing,” Kolster said of organizations’ interest in this approach. “It’s just that people … don’t understand – moving messages around by the millions of messages a second, they don’t understand that this can be accomplished. … And then it opens up a whole new discussion as to possibilities they never knew existed.”

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!

Graphcore Introduces Next-Gen Intelligence Processing Unit for AI Workloads

July 15, 2020

British hardware designer Graphcore, which emerged from stealth in 2016 to launch its first-generation Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), has announced its next-generation IPU platform: the IPU-Machine M2000. With the n Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

heFFTe: Scaling FFT for Exascale

July 15, 2020

Exascale computing aspires to provide breakthrough solutions addressing today’s most critical challenges in scientific discovery, energy assurance, economic competitiveness, and national security. This has been the mai Read more…

By Jack Dongarra and Stanimire Tomov

There’s No Storage Like ATGC: Breakthrough Helps to Store ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in DNA

July 15, 2020

Even as storage density reaches new heights, many researchers have their eyes set on a paradigm shift in high-density information storage: storing data in the four nucleotides (A, T, G and C) that constitute DNA, a metho Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Get a Grip: Intel Neuromorphic Chip Used to Give Robotics Arm a Sense of Touch

July 15, 2020

Moving neuromorphic technology from the laboratory into practice has proven slow-going. This week, National University of Singapore researchers moved the needle forward demonstrating an event-driven, visual-tactile perce Read more…

By John Russell

What’s New in HPC Research: Volcanoes, Mobile Games, Proteins & More

July 14, 2020

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

INEOS TEAM UK Accelerates Boat Design for America’s Cup Using HPC on AWS

The America’s Cup Dream

The 36th America’s Cup race will be decided in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021. Like all the teams, INEOS TEAM UK will compete in a boat whose design will have followed guidelines set by race organizers to ensure the crew’s sailing skills are fully tested. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Joliot-Curie Supercomputer Used to Build First Full, High-Fidelity Aircraft Engine Simulation

July 14, 2020

When industrial designers plan the design of a new element of a vehicle’s propulsion or exterior, they typically use fluid dynamics to optimize airflow and increase the vehicle’s speed and efficiency. These fluid dyn Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Graphcore Introduces Next-Gen Intelligence Processing Unit for AI Workloads

July 15, 2020

British hardware designer Graphcore, which emerged from stealth in 2016 to launch its first-generation Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), has announced its nex Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

heFFTe: Scaling FFT for Exascale

July 15, 2020

Exascale computing aspires to provide breakthrough solutions addressing today’s most critical challenges in scientific discovery, energy assurance, economic c Read more…

By Jack Dongarra and Stanimire Tomov

Get a Grip: Intel Neuromorphic Chip Used to Give Robotics Arm a Sense of Touch

July 15, 2020

Moving neuromorphic technology from the laboratory into practice has proven slow-going. This week, National University of Singapore researchers moved the needle Read more…

By John Russell

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprise Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Q&A: HLRS’s Bastian Koller Tackles HPC and Industry in Germany and Europe

July 6, 2020

In this exclusive interview for HPCwire – sadly not face to face – Steve Conway, senior advisor for Hyperion Research, talks with Dr.-Ing Bastian Koller about the state of HPC and its collaboration with Industry in Europe. Koller is a familiar figure in HPC. He is the managing director at High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and also serves... Read more…

By Steve Conway, Hyperion

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

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…

By Doug Black

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

John Martinis Reportedly Leaves Google Quantum Effort

April 21, 2020

John Martinis, who led Google’s quantum computing effort since establishing its quantum hardware group in 2014, has left Google after being moved into an advi 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