2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

By Oliver Peckham

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 to an outstanding achievement in high-performance computing, with ACM intending to “track the progress over time of parallel computing, with particular emphasis on rewarding innovation in applying high-performance computing to applications in science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics.” Hundreds of volunteers evaluated the submissions for the ACM awards, and eventually, the selection committee settled on six finalists for the 2021 Gordon Bell Prize.

Over the course of the week, the six finalists for the Gordon Bell Prize presented their research, spanning quantum computing, molecular dynamics, spectroscopy and fusion energy. The researchers used a series of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, including the Anton 3 molecular dynamics specialist system, Summit (the most powerful publicly ranked system in the United States), Fugaku (the four-time reigning champion of the Top500) and the recently (partially) unveiled Sunway exascale system in China, which collected three of the six nominations.

But with SC21 beginning to come to wind down, Mark Parsons, chair of the Gordon Bell Prize selection committee, took the stage this afternoon to unveil the winners. And the winning research is…


Winner of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize

Closing the “Quantum Supremacy” Gap: Achieving Real-Time Simulation of a Random Quantum Circuit Using a New Sunway Supercomputer
Yong (Alexander) Liu, Xin (Lucy) Liu, Fang (Nancy) Li, Haohuan Fu, Yuling Yang, Jiawei Song, Pengpeng Zhao, Zhen Wang, Dajia Peng, Huarong Chen, Chu Guo, Heliang Huang, Wenzhao Wu and Dexun Chen

The fourteen researchers (whose affiliations span Zhejiang Lab, Tsinghua University, the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi and the Shanghai Research Center for Quantum Sciences) leveraged the massive new Sunway exascale system that was more or less revealed during SC21 to conduct groundbreaking simulation of a quantum circuit.

“With Google’s “Quantum Supremacy” declaration in 2019, stating that the Sycamore superconductive quantum computer is over a billion times faster than Summit (comparing 200 seconds against 10,000 years in the task of measuring/simulating one million samples), the dawn of the quantum age starts to unfold in a more affirmative way,” the researchers wrote. “A later response from the IBM research team argues that they can accomplish the simulation on the classical Summit supercomputer … within a few days instead of 10,000 years.”

The team used the sampling of quantum states of a random quantum circuit as an example problem for the closing of this hotly debated quantum advantage. The researchers’ random quantum circuit simulator, combined with the firepower of the Sunway exascale system, simulated a 10×10(qubits)×(1+40+1)(depth) circuit at a sustained performance of a staggering 1.2 exaflops of single-precision computing power, or 4.4 exaflops of mixed-precision, which the researchers say is “A new milestone for classical simulation of quantum circuits.” They reduced the simulation sampling time to 304 seconds from that previous estimate of 10,000 years.

Courtesy of the researchers, a summary of major classical random quantum circuit simulations. The X axis denotes the number of qubits, while the Y axis shows the corresponding memory space required. The sizes of the circles and rectangles denote the complexity/depth of the circuit.

To learn more about the Gordon Bell Prize-winning research, read the paper here.


ACM Gordon Bell Prize nominees

While the quantum simulation research is taking home the prize, the other five nominees represent some of the most intensive research for some of the most pressing research applications in the world. Brief descriptions are included below; follow the links to their respective papers to learn more about each of the teams’ remarkable work.

Anton 3: Twenty Microseconds of Molecular Dynamics Simulation Before Lunch
A whopping 67 researchers collaborated on this research, which resulted in the development of the specialized Anton 3 molecular dynamics supercomputer designed and built by D.E. Shaw Research. Anton 3, the researchers reported, is capable of simulating a million atoms at 100 microseconds per day across 512 nodes using an order of magnitude less energy per simulated microsecond than any other machine. To accomplish this feat, they implemented a series of architectural and algorithmic improvements, including a new, custom network, specialized pairwise interactions at different precisions and a new method called the “Manhattan Method” that addresses non-bonded interactions. To learn more, read the paper here.

A 400 Trillion-Grid Vlasov Simulation on Fugaku Supercomputer: Large-Scale Distribution of Cosmic Relic Neutrinos in a Six-Dimensional Phase Space
This November, Fugaku netted its fourth top-place win on the Top500 following its early launch in the spring of 2020 to combat COVID through intensive simulations. Here, a trio of researchers from three Japanese universities again demonstrate the sheer power of the list-topper – this time, through a massive simulation of cosmic relic neutrinos combined with N-body simulation of cold dark matter. The largest of their simulations spanned 400 trillion grids and 330 billion-body calculations, “reproducing accurately the nonlinear dynamics of neutrinos in the universe.” Once optimized on Fugaku, the researchers scaled across 147,456 nodes, showing up to 96 percent weak scaling and up to 93 percent strong scaling. To learn more, read the paper here.

Symplectic Structure-Preserving Particle-in-Cell Whole-Volume Simulation of Tokamak Plasmas to 111.3 Trillion Particles and 25.7 Billion Grids
If you don’t yet know what a tokamak is, just know that they might save the world: tokamaks use magnetism to trap plasma for the production of fusion energy. However, tokamaks are notoriously delicate and unstable, hence the current infeasibility of productive fusion energy. The HPC sector is working to change that: these dozen researchers from China, also using the new Sunway system, simulated the whole-volume confinement toroidal plasmas of a tokamak. These simulations reached up to 111.3 trillion particles and 25.7 billion grids, achieving sustained performance in excess of 201 petaflops double-precision, with the fastest iteration step hitting 298.2. To learn more, read the paper here.

Extreme-Scale Ab Initio Quantum Raman Spectra Simulations on the Leadership HPC System in China
This research, also leveraging the new Sunway exascale system, pushed Raman spectroscopy – a kind of structural fingerprinting – to new limits. “Raman spectroscopy,” these dozen researchers from China explain, “provides chemical and compositional information that can serve as a structural fingerprint for various materials. Therefore, simulations of Raman spectra, including both quantum perturbation analyses and ground-state calculations, are of significant interest.” Full quantum mechanical simulations of Raman spectra for biological materials have proved particularly difficult, and here, the researchers conduct “fast, accurate, massively parallel full ab initio simulations of the Raman spectra of realistic biological systems” up to 3,006 atoms, achieving up to 468.5 petaflops in double-precision and 813.7 petaflops in mixed-half-precision and indicating “the potential for new applications of the QM approach to biological systems.” To learn more, read the paper here.

Billion Atom Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Carbon at Extreme Conditions and Experimental Time and Length Scales
These researchers observed the “long-sought” BC8 phase of carbon under extreme pressure and extreme temperature. To do this, they ran on the U.S. leadership Summit system, commanding 4,650 nodes across 24 hours and exhibiting “unprecedented scaling and unmatched real-world performance of SNAP [molecular dynamics].” Representing a simulated nanosecond of physical time, the simulations achieved better than 97 percent parallel efficiency and peak computing power of 50 petaflops for a 20-billion atom molecular dynamics simulation across Summit’s nearly 28,000 GPUs. The researchers claim the record set of 6.2 million atom steps per node-second is 22.9 times greater than the previous record-setting work. To learn more, read the paper here.


Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

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 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

AWS Arm-based Graviton3 Instances Now in Preview

December 1, 2021

Three years after unveiling the first generation of its AWS Graviton chip-powered instances in 2018, Amazon Web Services announced that the third generation of the processors – the AWS Graviton3 – will power all-new Amazon Elastic Compute 2 (EC2) C7g instances that are now available in preview. Debuting at the AWS re:Invent 2021... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies participated and, one of them, Graphcore, even held a separ Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2021 Edition

December 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…

AWS Solution Channel

Running a 3.2M vCPU HPC Workload on AWS with YellowDog

Historically, advances in fields such as meteorology, healthcare, and engineering, were achieved through large investments in on-premises computing infrastructure. Upfront capital investment and operational complexity have been the accepted norm of large-scale HPC research. Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

Raja Koduri and Satoshi Matsuoka Discuss the Future of HPC at SC21

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Intel's Raja Koduri and Riken's Satoshi Matsuoka in St. Louis for an off-the-cuff conversation about their SC21 experience, what comes after exascale and why they are collaborating. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics (AXG) group, leads the team... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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