Powerful and Programmable: How UK HPC Researchers are Innovating and Improving Supercomputing Infrastructures with DPUs

By Brian Sparks, Sr. Director, HPC and InfiniBand Marketing, NVIDIA

August 23, 2021

Institutions and academia all over the world are working to redesign codes and algorithms to meet the demands of advanced research. In the UK, the Exascale Computing ALgorithms and Infrastructures Benefiting UK Research (ExCALIBUR) is one such research program aiming to deliver the next generation of high performance simulation software for the highest-priority fields in UK research. These fields include very compute-intensive workloads, such as simulating the entire evolution of the universe, understanding seismic and gravitational waves, assessing tsunamis, and modeling the fundamental structure of matter.

The creation of new compute options, including smart and programmable interconnect solutions, also referred to as data processing units (DPUs), are providing researchers with unprecedented innovation for modern high performance systems. NVIDIA BlueField DPUs combine powerful In-Network Computing engines, high speed networking, and extensive programmability to deliver software defined, hardware-accelerated solutions for the most demanding workloads.

Working in conjunction with the ExCALIBUR program, Distributed Research utilising Advanced Computing (DiRAC), which includes computing resources that are distributed over four university sites, including Cambridge, Leicester, Durham, and Edinburgh, is leveraging BlueField DPUs in innovative ways to enable breakthrough science with its breadth of programmable capabilities.

One example is the Institute for Computational Cosmology and Department of Computer Science at Durham University, which runs large-scale simulations of wave propagation, such as gravitational and seismic waves, utilizing adaptive cartesian meshes with a code called ExaHyPE that phrases most of its computations as tasks. Over the past few years, extensive efforts have gone into labeling and identifying the critical tasks that require synchronization to other nodes or tasks where the mesh changes. When combined with the greater number of lower priority tasks, there is significant effort that must be made to perform load balancing across the system. Once load balancing is performed at an optimal level, it becomes very difficult and time/cost consuming if the domain changes and the system consequently becomes unbalanced. In order to become more reactive, researchers must shift lightweight, idle tasks to other resources, however, orchestration becomes problematic and tweaking the MPI runtime to make progression at the right time, at the right pace, can take a toll on compute resources.

By utilizing the BlueField DPU compute cores, Durham University can save compute resources by using the DPU as an MPI progressions engine—observing and routing tasks, as well as cache/accept tasks as they come in. The work extends beyond previous research collaborations within the ExaHyPE consortium, and notably the group of Michael Bader at TUM, introducing a clear separation-of-concerns for the CPU’s focus on compute tasks. As a result, an intelligent network starts to own the data responsibilities.

Over at the University College London, graduate student James Legg is working with BlueField DPUs to accelerate computational codes that use task-based scheduling. In James’ approach, the BlueField DPU, in particular its Arm processor subsystem, is the task scheduler and the main host processor that runs the computational tasks or kernels. This inverts the traditional relationship in which it is the accelerator card that runs the kernels and the host organizes the running of those. When, previously, the scheduler and kernels both ran on the host, they competed for processing resources, keeping the scheduler design lean. On the BlueField DPU, the scheduler can easily have several dedicated threads, allowing for the processing of the schedule itself in parallel to the kernels on the host, as well as more complex processing of the schedule itself. Additional research is being looked into that allows the schedulers on the BlueField DPUs to move the computation data between the hosts’ RAMs without involving the host processors at all.

The Cambridge Service for Data Driven Discovery, or CSD3 for short, is a UK National Research Cloud and one of the world’s most powerful academic cloud-native supercomputers. CSD3 is enabled by the BlueField DPUs to offload infrastructure management, such as security policies and storage frameworks from the host, while providing acceleration and isolation for workloads to maximize I/O performance. This enables secure, bare metal performance so that researchers can pursue exploration like never before.

These are just a few of the examples of researchers exploring innovative ways to take advantage of DPU performance and programmability. To help ease programmability even more, and fuel further advancements, the NVIDIA DOCA SDK has been developed to enable infrastructure developers to rapidly create network, storage, security, management, and AI and high performance computing (HPC) applications and services, on top of the BlueField DPU, leveraging industry-standard APIs. With DOCA, developers can program the supercomputing infrastructure of tomorrow by creating high-performance, software-defined, and cloud-native DPU-accelerated services. Developers can get started today by registering for early access to the program.


Brian Sparks, Sr. Director, HPC and InfiniBand Marketing, NVIDIA

Brian Sparks is a senior marketing and corporate communications executive with over 20 years of experience in the HPC, hyperscale and cloud data center markets. Brian has previously held Marketing Working Group Chair positions in the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) and the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA) and is the current Marketing Working Group Chair for the Unified Communication Framework (UCF) Consortium. Brian holds a B.A. degree in Communications from San Jose State University.

 

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!

Nvidia Touts Strong Results on Financial Services Inference Benchmark

February 3, 2023

The next-gen Hopper family may be on its way, but that isn’t stopping Nvidia’s popular A100 GPU from leading another benchmark on its way out. This time, it’s the STAC-ML inference benchmark, produced by the Securi Read more…

Quantum Computing Firm Rigetti Faces Delisting

February 3, 2023

Quantum computing companies are seeing their market caps crumble as investors patiently await out the winner-take-all approach to technology development. Quantum computing firms such as Rigetti Computing, IonQ and D-Wave went public through mergers with blank-check companies in the last two years, with valuations at the time of well over $1 billion. Now the market capitalization of these companies are less than half... Read more…

US and India Strengthen HPC, Quantum Ties Amid Tech Tension with China

February 2, 2023

Last May, the United States and India announced the “Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology” (iCET), aimed at expanding the countries’ partnerships in strategic technologies and defense industries across th Read more…

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Enables Transparent Medicare Outcome AI

February 2, 2023

Medical applications of AI are replete with promise, but stymied by opacity: with lives on the line, concerns over AI models’ often-inscrutable reasoning – and as a result, possible biases embedded in those models Read more…

Europe’s LUMI Supercomputer Has Officially Been Accepted

February 1, 2023

“LUMI is officially here!” proclaimed the headline of a blog post written by Pekka Manninen, director of science and technology for CSC, Finland’s state-owned IT center. The EuroHPC-organized supercomputer’s most Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 2069893598

Cost-effective and accurate genomics analysis with Sentieon on AWS

This blog post was contributed by Don Freed, Senior Bioinformatics Scientist, and Brendan Gallagher, Head of Business Development at Sentieon; and Olivia Choudhury, PhD, Senior Partner Solutions Architect, Sujaya Srinivasan, Genomics Solutions Architect, and Aniket Deshpande, Senior Specialist, HPC HCLS at AWS. Read more…

Microsoft/NVIDIA Solution Channel

Shutterstock 1453953692

Microsoft and NVIDIA Experts Talk AI Infrastructure

As AI emerges as a crucial tool in so many sectors, it’s clear that the need for optimized AI infrastructure is growing. Going beyond just GPU-based clusters, cloud infrastructure that provides low-latency, high-bandwidth interconnects and high-performance storage can help organizations handle AI workloads more efficiently and produce faster results. Read more…

Intel’s Gaudi3 AI Chip Survives Axe, Successor May Combine with GPUs

February 1, 2023

Intel's paring projects and products amid financial struggles, but AI products are taking on a major role as the company tweaks its chip roadmap to account for more computing specifically targeted at artificial intellige Read more…

Quantum Computing Firm Rigetti Faces Delisting

February 3, 2023

Quantum computing companies are seeing their market caps crumble as investors patiently await out the winner-take-all approach to technology development. Quantum computing firms such as Rigetti Computing, IonQ and D-Wave went public through mergers with blank-check companies in the last two years, with valuations at the time of well over $1 billion. Now the market capitalization of these companies are less than half... Read more…

US and India Strengthen HPC, Quantum Ties Amid Tech Tension with China

February 2, 2023

Last May, the United States and India announced the “Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology” (iCET), aimed at expanding the countries’ partnership Read more…

Intel’s Gaudi3 AI Chip Survives Axe, Successor May Combine with GPUs

February 1, 2023

Intel's paring projects and products amid financial struggles, but AI products are taking on a major role as the company tweaks its chip roadmap to account for Read more…

Roadmap for Building a US National AI Research Resource Released

January 31, 2023

Last week the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force released its final report and roadmap for building a national AI infrastructure to include comput Read more…

PFAS Regulations, 3M Exit to Impact Two-Phase Cooling in HPC

January 27, 2023

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals,” pose a number of health risks to humans, with more suspected but not yet confirmed Read more…

Multiverse, Pasqal, and Crédit Agricole Tout Progress Using Quantum Computing in FS

January 26, 2023

Europe-based quantum computing pioneers Multiverse Computing and Pasqal, and global bank Crédit Agricole CIB today announced successful conclusion of a 1.5-yea Read more…

Critics Don’t Want Politicians Deciding the Future of Semiconductors

January 26, 2023

The future of the semiconductor industry was partially being decided last week by a mix of politicians, policy hawks and chip industry executives jockeying for Read more…

Riken Plans ‘Virtual Fugaku’ on AWS

January 26, 2023

The development of a national flagship supercomputer aimed at exascale computing continues to be a heated competition, especially in the United States, the Euro Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

SC22 Booth Videos

AMD @ SC22
Altair @ SC22
AWS @ SC22
Ayar Labs @ SC22
CoolIT @ SC22
Cornelis Networks @ SC22
DDN @ SC22
Dell Technologies @ SC22
HPE @ SC22
Intel @ SC22
Intelligent Light @ SC22
Lancium @ SC22
Lenovo @ SC22
Microsoft and NVIDIA @ SC22
One Stop Systems @ SC22
Penguin Solutions @ SC22
QCT @ SC22
Supermicro @ SC22
Tuxera @ SC22
Tyan Computer @ SC22
  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire