Hazardous Object Identifier: Supercomputer Helps to Identify Dangerous Asteroids

By Oliver Peckham

March 4, 2020

Asteroid defense may seem like the realm of sci-fi movies or arcade games, but for astronomers at Universiteit Leiden, it’s a perfect application of high-performance computing. The research team leveraged Leiden’s in-house supercomputer to assess asteroid trajectories using an artificial neural network, showing that some asteroids that seem harmless may be on a collision course with Earth.

The researchers built a simulation of the solar system and its orbits, then fast-forwarded it ten thousand years. Then, they hit rewind – while “launching” asteroid after asteroid from the Earth’s surface as it spun backwards in time. The simulation showed how those asteroids rewound themselves through the solar system, allowing the researchers to use the resulting asteroid data to train a neural network on the behavior of asteroids that would eventually collide with Earth.

“If you rewind the clock, you will see the well-known asteroids land again on Earth,” said Simon Portegies Zwart, a professor of computational astrophysics at Leiden, in an interview with the university. “This way, you can make a library of the orbits of asteroids that landed on Earth.”

Inauguration of the ALICE cluster. Image courtesy of Universiteit Leiden.

To run the initial simulations, the researchers used Leiden’s in-house supercomputer, ALICE (for Academic Leiden Interdisciplinary Cluster Environment). ALICE is a hybrid cluster consisting of 20 CPUs nodes with two Intel Xeon Gold 6128 2.6 GHz CPUs and 384 GB RAM; 10 GPU nodes with additional PNY GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPUs; a high memory node with 2048 GB RAM; a Mellanox ConnectX-5 interconnect; and 545 TB of storage. In total, ALICE delivers 604 peak teraflops.

The trained neural network itself, which can be run on a laptop, is called the Hazardous Object Identifier, or “HOI.” HOI proved able to recognize near-Earth objects, including 90.99% of the potentially hazardous objects already identified by NASA. Crucially, HOI was also able to identify hazardous objects that had hitherto evaded classification due to their erratic orbits – 11, so far. While traditional asteroid hazard software was unable to notice that these asteroids might come within a hazardous range of Earth, HOI’s neural network approach recognized the telltale patterns.

Of course, the researchers know that this is just a start.

“We now know that our method works, but we would certainly like to delve deeper in the research with a better neural network and with more input,” Portegies Zwart said. “The tricky part is that small disruptions in the orbit calculations can lead to major changes in the conclusions.”

This new research is the latest of many recent computational endeavors in the field of asteroid defense. Just a couple weeks ago, MIT highlighted a new simulation tool developed by its researchers that may help determine the best strategy for deflecting or destroying an incoming asteroid given a series of inputs. NASA has also been running its own asteroid impact simulations and simulating a real asteroid deflection in preparation for a 2021 mission.

About the research

The research discussed in this article was published as “Identifying Earth-impacting asteroids using an artificial neural network” in the February 2020 issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics. It was written by John D. Hefele, Francesco Bortolussi and Simon Portegies Zwart and can be accessed here.

To read the article from Universiteit Leiden discussing this research, click here.

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!

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... 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…

SC21’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

November 19, 2021

SC21 may have been the first major supercomputing conference to return to in-person activities, but not everything returned to the live menu: the Student Cluster Competition – held virtually at ISC 2020, SC20 and ISC 2021 – was again held virtually at SC21. Nevertheless, Students@SC Chair Jay Lofstead took the physical stage at SC21 on Thursday to announce the... Read more…

MLPerf Issues HPC 1.0 Benchmark Results Featuring Impressive Systems (Think Fugaku)

November 19, 2021

Earlier this week MLCommons issued results from its latest MLPerf HPC training benchmarking exercise. Unlike other MLPerf benchmarks, which mostly measure the training and inference performance of systems that are availa Read more…

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to World-Shaping COVID Droplet Work

November 18, 2021

For the second (and, hopefully, final) year in a row, SC21 included a second major research award alongside the ACM 2021 Gordon Bell Prize: the Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. Last year, the first iteration of this award went to simulations of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein; this year, the prize went... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1616974732

Using the Slurm REST API to integrate with distributed architectures on AWS

The Slurm Workload Manager by SchedMD is a popular HPC scheduler and is supported by AWS ParallelCluster, an elastic HPC cluster management service offered by AWS. 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…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... 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…

SC21’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

November 19, 2021

SC21 may have been the first major supercomputing conference to return to in-person activities, but not everything returned to the live menu: the Student Cluster Competition – held virtually at ISC 2020, SC20 and ISC 2021 – was again held virtually at SC21. Nevertheless, Students@SC Chair Jay Lofstead took the physical stage at SC21 on Thursday to announce the... Read more…

MLPerf Issues HPC 1.0 Benchmark Results Featuring Impressive Systems (Think Fugaku)

November 19, 2021

Earlier this week MLCommons issued results from its latest MLPerf HPC training benchmarking exercise. Unlike other MLPerf benchmarks, which mostly measure the t Read more…

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to World-Shaping COVID Droplet Work

November 18, 2021

For the second (and, hopefully, final) year in a row, SC21 included a second major research award alongside the ACM 2021 Gordon Bell Prize: the Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. Last year, the first iteration of this award went to simulations of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein; this year, the prize went... 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…

SC21 Keynote: Internet Pioneer Vint Cerf on Shakespeare, Chatbots, and Being Human

November 17, 2021

Unlike the deep technical dives of many SC keynotes, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf steered clear of the trenches and took leisurely stroll through a range of human-machine interactions, touching on ML’s growing capabilities while noting potholes to be avoided if possible. Cerf, of course, is co-designer with Bob Kahn of the TCP/IP protocols and architecture of the internet. He’s heralded... Read more…

France’s Jean Zay Supercomputer Boosts AI, HPC Research with Influx of A100 80GB GPUs

November 17, 2021

Since coming online in the fall of 2019 in Paris, the Jean Zay supercomputer has been one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers available to HPC and AI researchers. And now, through the addition of new Nvidia A100 80GB GPUs and other hardware, the Jean Zay will soon offer double the compute capacity it offers for AI and HPC research, according to GENCI... 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…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... 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…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In 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…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was 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…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... 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…

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…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec 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…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire