What’s New in Computing vs. COVID-19: SC20 Edition

By Oliver Peckham

November 30, 2020

Supercomputing, big data and artificial intelligence are crucial tools in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Around the world, researchers, corporations and governments are urgently devoting their computing resources to this global crisis. This column collects the biggest news about how advanced technologies are helping us fight back against COVID-19. At SC20, that news was on full display, and this special edition highlights the biggest COVID-19-related updates from the conference.


The COVID-19 HPC Consortium enters phase two: triage

Early in the week, the COVID-19 HPC Consortium (which just won the HPCwire Editors’ Choice Award for Best HPC Collaboration) announced the second phase of its operation, focused on projects with the potential to benefit patients over the coming six months. That timeline means the consortium – which now numbers over 90 projects and a cumulative 600 petaflops of computing power – is aiming to bridge the gap between the current COVID-19 surge and possible vaccine distribution. To read more, click here.

An SC20 plenary panel looks toward the next pandemic

Even with COVID-19 far from over, a plenary panel at SC20 looked toward the future of computing versus COVID-19. The panel – featuring Rommie Amaro, Alex Vespignani, Ilkay Altintas and Rick Stevens – delved into what HPC has done to fight COVID-19 and how those successes can be replicated (and expanded) in future public health crises. To read more, click here.

Partial results from the simulation. Image courtesy of Exscalate4CoV.

Exscalate4CoV runs 70 billion-molecule coronavirus simulation

The public-private Exscalate4CoV consortium, which now includes 50 partners across seven European countries, has run a simulation analyzing 70 billion molecules against 15 interaction sites on SARS-CoV-2 in just 60 hours – an average of nearly five million simulated interactions per second. Exscalate4CoV calls this “the most complex supercomputing simulation ever realized.” To read more, click here.

The resulting model of SARS-CoV-2. Image courtesy of Rommie Amaro and Lorenzo Casalino.

Gordon Bell Special Prize goes to massive SARS-CoV-2 simulations

The ACM awarded a Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research at SC20 this year. The prize went to a wide-reaching, nationwide collaboration that developed unprecedented simulations of key aspects of the coronavirus. The simulations, which used molecular dynamics code on the Summit supercomputer, illuminated the virus’ sugary glycan shield – which protects it from many pharmaceutical attack strategies – and highlighted the critical role of the virus’ receptor binding domain. To read more, click here.

COVID-19 continues to change the global HPC market landscape, Hyperion Research and Intersect360 Research confirm

During SC20, Hyperion Research unveiled its SC20 HPC Market Results and New Forecasts report. Prior to the pandemic, Hyperion had forecast growth in the global HPC server market from $13.7 billion to $14.5 billion; in July, it downgraded expectations to $10.9 billion. Now, they’re a bit more optimistic about the recovery, forecasting $11.9 billion. To read more, click here.

Intersect360 Research also held a pre-SC20 Market Update (read more here) that reaffirmed its projection from earlier in the year that the 2020 HPC market would see a 3.7 percent year-over-year decline. However, Intersect360 added that cloud computing demand is “booming despite (and perhaps a little bit because of) the pandemic.”

Dan Stanzione talks TACC, Frontera and COVID-19

During SC20, Dan Stanzione, associate vice president for research at the University of Texas at Austin and executive director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), sat down for a fireside chat with Nash Palaniswamy (general manager for AI and HPC solutions and sales at Intel) to talk about the ways TACC has adapted to remote work, COVID-19 research and changes in computing over the course of 2020. To read more, click here.

Azure scaled to record 86,400 cores for molecular dynamics

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure, with researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scaling molecular dynamics simulations to 86,400 CPU cores totaling nearly five peak petaflops of performance. The test was intended to evaluate Azure’s HBv2 virtual machines for use in future SARS-CoV-2 simulations. To read more, click here.

Fugaku, a COVID-19-induced early arrival, retains its Top500 crown

The world’s top supercomputer — the Fugaku system at Riken — has retained its crown in the new Top500 rankings. Fugaku, which was brought online around a year early in order to supercharge pandemic research, reported a new Linpack score of 442 petaflops, up from 415 Linpack petaflops when it debuted. The massive system has been used to conduct a wide range of pandemic research, particularly in the area of droplet analysis to test the efficacy of face masks, face shields and various interaction scenarios. Read more here and here.


Do you know about COVID-19 research that should be featured on this list? If so, send us an email at oliver@taborcommunications.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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 Larger-Than-Ever IPU-Based Pods

October 22, 2021

Graphcore and its “Intelligent Processing Units” (IPUs) emerged from stealth in 2016 and launched its second-generation IPU in 2020. While the company has also launched its IPUs in a variety of form factors over the Read more…

Quantum Chemistry Project to Be Among the First on EuroHPC’s LUMI System

October 22, 2021

Finland’s CSC has just installed the first module of LUMI, a 550-peak petaflops system supported by the European Union’s EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. While LUMI -- pictured in the header -- isn’t slated to complete i 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…

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 for that approach), announced it was expanding into gate-based Read more…

LLNL Prepares the Water and Power Infrastructure for El Capitan

October 21, 2021

When it’s (ostensibly) ready in early 2023, El Capitan is expected to deliver in excess of two exaflops of peak computing power – around four times the power of Fugaku, the current top-ranked supercomputer in the wor Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 537899029

Running GROMACS on GPU instances

Comparing the performance of real applications across different Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types is the best way we’ve found for finding optimal configurations for HPC applications here at AWS. Read more…

Faster Optical Switch that Operates at ‘Room Temp’ Developed by IBM, Skolkovo Researchers

October 19, 2021

Optical switching technology holds great promise for many applications but hot operating temperatures have been a key obstacle slowing progress. Now, a new optical switching device that can operate at room temperatures a 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…

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…

LLNL Prepares the Water and Power Infrastructure for El Capitan

October 21, 2021

When it’s (ostensibly) ready in early 2023, El Capitan is expected to deliver in excess of two exaflops of peak computing power – around four times the powe 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…

Quantum Workforce – NSTC Report Highlights Need for International Talent

October 13, 2021

Attracting and training the needed quantum workforce to fuel the ongoing quantum information sciences (QIS) revolution is a hot topic these days. Last week, the U.S. National Science and Technology Council issued a report – The Role of International Talent in Quantum Information Science... Read more…

Eni Returns to HPE for ‘HPC4’ Refresh via GreenLake

October 13, 2021

Italian energy company Eni is upgrading its HPC4 system with new gear from HPE that will be installed in Eni’s Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (a provi Read more…

The Blueprint for the National Strategic Computing Reserve

October 12, 2021

Over the last year, the HPC community has been buzzing with the possibility of a National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR). An in-utero brainchild of the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, an NSCR would serve as a Merchant Marine for urgent computing... Read more…

UCLA Researchers Report Largest Chiplet Design and Early Prototyping

October 12, 2021

What’s the best path forward for large-scale chip/system integration? Good question. Cerebras has set a high bar with its wafer scale engine 2 (WSE-2); it has 2.6 trillion transistors, including 850,000 cores, and was fabricated using TSMC’s 7nm process on a roughly 8” x 8” silicon footprint. 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…

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…

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…

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…

AMD-Xilinx Deal Gains UK, EU Approvals — China’s Decision Still Pending

July 1, 2021

AMD’s planned acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx is now in the hands of Chinese regulators after needed antitrust approvals for the $35 billion deal were receiv Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

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…

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 Roundup: IBM, Rigetti, Phasecraft, Oxford QC, China, and More

July 13, 2021

IBM yesterday announced a proof for a quantum ML algorithm. A week ago, it unveiled a new topology for its quantum processors. Last Friday, the Technical Univer 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…

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…

Intel Unveils New Node Names; Sapphire Rapids Is Now an ‘Intel 7’ CPU

July 27, 2021

What's a preeminent chip company to do when its process node technology lags the competition by (roughly) one generation, but outmoded naming conventions make i Read more…

Frontier to Meet 20MW Exascale Power Target Set by DARPA in 2008

July 14, 2021

After more than a decade of planning, the United States’ first exascale computer, Frontier, is set to arrive at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) later this year. Crossing this “1,000x” horizon required overcoming four major challenges: power demand, reliability, extreme parallelism and data movement. 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…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire