Nvidia Nabs #7 Spot on Top500 with Selene, Launches A100 PCIe Cards

By Tiffany Trader

June 22, 2020

Nvidia unveiled its Selene AI supercomputer today in tandem with the updated listing of world’s fastest computers. Nvidia also introduced the PCIe form factor of the Ampere-based A100 GPU.

Nvidia’s new internal AI supercomputer, Selene, joins the upper echelon of the 55th Top500’s ranks and breaks an energy-efficiency barrier. With 27.5 double-precision Linpack petaflops, Selene landed the number seventh spot on the latest Top500 list released today as part of the ISC 2020 Digital proceedings. Selene is the second most-performant industry system on the list, coming in one spot below Eni’s HPC5 machine, which was sixth with 35.5 HPL petaflops (and also uses Nvidia GPUs).

A100 PCIe

This Top500 list marks the entrance of two industry systems into the top ten, with Selene being the first internal IT vendor system to do so. Nvidia uses supercomputers internally to support chip design and model development, as well as for its work in robotics, self-driving cars, healthcare and other research projects.

Located in Santa Clara, Calif., Selene is a DGX SuperPOD, powered by Nvidia’s A100 GPUs and AMD’s Epyc Rome CPUs within the DGX A100 form factor, clustered over Mellanox HDR InfiniBand. Altogether, Selene comprises 280 DGX A100s, housing a total 2,240 A100 GPUs and 494 Mellanox Quantum 200G InfiniBand switches, providing 56 TB/s network fabric. The system includes 7 petabytes of all-flash network storage.

A100 SXM

Selene was built with vertical integration of the network and the GPUs, using SHARP, said Gilad Shainer, senior vice president of marketing, who came to Nvidia via the Mellanox acquisition. “SHARP is the engine on the network that does the data reduction, which is a critical part in both traditional HPC simulations and deep learning,” he said in a pre-briefing held for media.

On the heels of Nvidia’s Ampere launch, Selene was constructed and up and running in less than a month, the company said.

Nvidia also runs internal workloads on three other machines that have made it into the Top500 ranking. There’s the V100-based DGX Superpod machine, which came in 24th on the latest Top500 with 9.4 Linpack petaflops; the P100-based DGX Saturn-V, deployed in 2016 that’s currently in 78th place with 3.3 petaflops; and Circe, another V100-based Superpod that’s grabbed the 91st rung with 3.1 Linpack petaflops.

Reached for comment, Karl Freund, senior analyst HPC and deep learning with Moor Insights and Strategy, underscored just how integral this in-house supercomputing power is to Nvidia’s competitive position. “First with Saturn five and now with Selene, Nvidia’s using their own technology to create better products, hardware and software, and that’s going to create a tough bar for somebody to clear competitively,” he told HPCwire. “You can’t imagine a startup spending tens of millions of dollars to develop a supercomputer that their engineers can use to develop their next chip. The use of AI, especially deep learning and reinforcement learning networks to do back-end physical design, is shown to create massive innovation.”

Nvidia’s newest AI supercomputer, Selene, accomplished a second-place finish on the Green500 list, delivering 20.52 gigaflops-per-watt, becoming one of only two machines to break the 20 gigaflops-per-watt barrier. The top-ranked green machine is MN-3, made by Top500 newcomer Preferred Networks. MN-3 turned in a record 21.1 gigaflops-per-watt run, a 1.62 petaflops Linpack score, and a 394th finish on the Top500.

Nvidia GPUs power six out of the ten most energy-efficient machines on the Top500 and fifteen out of the top 20.

Nvidia is also expanding its Ampere portfolio with a new PCIe A100 GPU card. When Nvidia launched its Ampere architecture the only way to obtain the A100 GPUs was to purchase Nvidia’s DGX A100 systems (available in four- and eight-GPU configurations) or the HGX A100 building blocks, leveraged by partnering cloud service providers and server makers. Now the datacenter company is announcing that PCIe-based systems will be forthcoming from server partners, in configurations spanning between one GPU to ten or more GPUs.

The SXM variant with NVLink is still only available as part of the HGX platform, which owning to the NVLink connectivity provide 10 times the bandwidth of PCIe Gen4, according to Nvidia.

Nvidia sold its prior generation V100 GPUs in both the SXM form factor and the PCIe form factor. SXMs were not restricted to an HGX board sale, which enabled system makers to essentially build their own DGX clones that potentially undercut Nvidia’s sales. Now Nvidia is tightening up its sales strategy, so that OEM partners that want to provide servers based on the more performant NVLink-equipped SXM parts must build their A100-based solutions using Nvidia’s four- or eight-way HGX boards.

“It’s kind of a bifurcated model by channel; direct channel customers can and will buy the DGX, and everybody else buys through OEMs,” said Freund. “It’s a pretty clean model. The OEMs are on notice that they gotta move fast or Nvidia will take up all of this as a system vendor, right? But Nvidia doesn’t really want to have a sales channel broad enough to do that exclusively. So they still need the OEMs.”

The PCIe form factor matches SXM on peak performance: 9.7 teraflops FP64 performance (up to 19.5 teraflops FP64 tensor core performance), and 19.6 teraflops FP32 performance (up to 312 teraflops tensor float 32 [with structural sparsity enabled]). However at 250 watts compared with the SXM’s 400 watts, the PCIe A100 is designed to run at a lower TDP. This means that while the peak performance is the same, sustained performance is impacted. On real applications the A100 PCIe GPU provides about 90 percent of delivered performance of A100 SXM when running on a single GPU, Nvidia said. But when scaling up where applications run on four-, eight- or more GPUs, the SXM configuration inside the HGX provides up to 50 percent higher performance on account of the NVLink connections, according to Nvidia.

Nvidia says the PCIe configuration is well suited for mainstream accelerated servers that go into the standard racks that offer lower power per server. “While the PCIe are intended for AI inference and some HPC applications that scale across one or two GPUs, the A100 SXM configuration is ideal for customers with applications scaling to multiple GPUs in a server, as well as across servers,” said Paresh Kharya, director of product management, accelerated computing at Nvidia.

Nvidia benchmarking results*

As Nvidia ramps its go to market for A100, the company is anticipating an expanded ecosystem of A100-powered servers. It expects 30 systems this summer with over 20 more coming by the end of the year. Systems are expected to be forthcoming from a wide range of system manufacturers, including ASUS, Atos, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, GIGABYTE, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Inspur, Lenovo, One Stop Systems, Quanta/QCT and Supermicro. Nvidia also reported that it is building out its portfolio of NGC-Ready certified systems.

* 1 BERT pre-training throughput using Pytorch, including (2/3) Phase 1 and (1/3) Phase 2 | Phase 1 Seq Len = 128, Phase 2 Seq Len = 512 | V100: NVIDIA DGX-1™ server with 8x NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPU using FP32 precision | A100: NVIDIA DGX A100 server with 8x A100 using TF32 precision.
2 BERT large inference | NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPU: NVIDIA TensorRT™ (TRT) 7.1, precision = INT8, batch size 256 | V100: TRT 7.1, precision FP16, batch size 256 | A100 with 7 MIG instances of 1g.5gb; pre-production TRT, batch size 94, precision INT8 with sparsity.
3 V100 used is single V100 SXM2. A100 used is single A100 SXM4. AMBER based on PME-Cellulose, LAMMPS with Atomic Fluid LJ-2.5, FUN3D with dpw, Chroma with szscl21_24_128.

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!

NIST/Xanadu Researchers Report Photonic Quantum Computing Advance

March 3, 2021

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Xanadu, a young Canada-based quantum computing company, have reported developing a full-stack, photonic quantum computer able to carry out th Read more…

By John Russell

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 even to this day, the largest climate models are heavily con Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2020) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective immediately. Hotard replaces long-time Cray exec Pete Ungaro Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ORNL’s Jeffrey Vetter on How IRIS Runtime will Help Deal with Extreme Heterogeneity

March 2, 2021

Jeffery Vetter is a familiar figure in HPC. Last year he became one of the new section heads in a reorganization at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He had been founding director of ORNL's Future Technologies Group which i Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Career Notes: March 2021 Edition

March 1, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

AWS Solution Channel

Moderna Accelerates COVID-19 Vaccine Development on AWS

Marcello Damiani, Chief Digital and Operational Excellence Officer at Moderna, joins Todd Weatherby, Vice President of AWS Professional Services Worldwide, for a discussion on developing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, scaling systems to enable global distribution, and leveraging cloud technologies to accelerate processes. Read more…

Supercomputers Enable First Holistic Model of SARS-CoV-2, Showing Spike Proteins Move in Tandem

February 28, 2021

Most models of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, hone in on key features of the virus: for instance, the spike protein. Some of this is attributable to the relative importance of those features, but most Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2020) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ORNL’s Jeffrey Vetter on How IRIS Runtime will Help Deal with Extreme Heterogeneity

March 2, 2021

Jeffery Vetter is a familiar figure in HPC. Last year he became one of the new section heads in a reorganization at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He had been f Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Career Notes: March 2021 Edition

March 1, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

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…

By Oliver Peckham

Japan to Debut Integrated Fujitsu HPC/AI Supercomputer This Spring

February 25, 2021

The integrated Fujitsu HPC/AI Supercomputer, Wisteria, is coming to Japan this spring. The University of Tokyo is preparing to deploy a heterogeneous computing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Xilinx Launches Alveo SN1000 SmartNIC

February 24, 2021

FPGA vendor Xilinx has debuted its latest SmartNIC model, the Alveo SN1000, with integrated “composability” features that allow enterprise users to add their own custom networking functions to supplement its built-in networking. By providing deep flexibility... Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

ASF Keynotes Showcase How HPC and Big Data Have Pervaded the Pandemic

February 24, 2021

Last Thursday, a range of experts joined the Advanced Scale Forum (ASF) in a rapid-fire roundtable to discuss how advanced technologies have transformed the way humanity responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in indelible ways. The roundtable, held near the one-year mark of the first... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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…

By John Russell

Esperanto Unveils ML Chip with Nearly 1,100 RISC-V Cores

December 8, 2020

At the RISC-V Summit today, Art Swift, CEO of Esperanto Technologies, announced a new, RISC-V based chip aimed at machine learning and containing nearly 1,100 low-power cores based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Esperanto Technologies, headquartered in... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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…

By Tracey Bryant

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. 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…

By Doug Black

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel Xe-HP GPU Deployed for Aurora Exascale Development

November 17, 2020

At SC20, Intel announced that it is making its Xe-HP high performance discrete GPUs available to early access developers. Notably, the new chips have been deplo Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Teases Ice Lake-SP, Shows Competitive Benchmarking

November 17, 2020

At SC20 this week, Intel teased its forthcoming third-generation Xeon "Ice Lake-SP" server processor, claiming competitive benchmarking results against AMD's second-generation Epyc "Rome" processor. Ice Lake-SP, Intel's first server processor with 10nm technology... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By John Russell

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…

By Tiffany Trader

It’s Fugaku vs. COVID-19: How the World’s Top Supercomputer Is Shaping Our New Normal

November 9, 2020

Fugaku is currently the most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world – but we weren’t supposed to have it yet. The supercomputer, situated at Japan’s Riken scientific research institute, was scheduled to come online in 2021. When the pandemic struck... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire