Commentary: Exascale Day 2022 Is Here

By Doug Kothe

October 18, 2022

Exascale Computing Project Director Doug Kothe on the significance of this year’s Exascale Day.

Today, Oct. 18, is Exascale Day. This date was not chosen by chance; 10/18 pays homage to the power of exascale computing, in which systems are capable of performing 1018 calculations per second.

Doug Kothe, director of the Exascale Computing Project and associate laboratory director for the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Though Exascale Day has been officially recognized for three years now, this year is particularly special as the Frontier system at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Laboratory, where I serve as associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences and director of DOE’s Exascale Computing Project, or ECP, has broken the exascale barrier.

Specifically Frontier, an HPE-Cray EX system powered by AMD processors, achieved 1.1 exaflops on the LINPACK benchmark at the ISC High Performance Conference in May.

Frontier is seven times more powerful at current speed than its predecessor Summit, the world’s previous fastest machine, which also happens to be at ORNL. Not only that, but it ranks first on the Green500, a tally of the world’s top supercomputers in terms of energy efficiency.

Such massive enhancements in speed and efficiency are possible thanks to advancements in traditional computing hardware, ECP’s targeting of critical R&D investments for our U.S. vendor partners, and the incorporation of graphics processing units, or GPUs. When combined with traditional CPUs, GPUs excel at performing the repetitive, parallel calculations necessary for the simulations used to solve the most complex scientific problems.

ORNL worked with its vendor partners to help pioneer this CPU/GPU hybrid architecture a decade ago on its Titan system, paving the way for one of computing’s most spectacular achievements in Frontier.

Exascale supercomputers have been a dream of mine – and of virtually everyone involved in high-performance computing – for more than a decade. The reason is simple: these systems hold the potential to propel humanity to new heights by revealing nature’s workings at the most minute, and most massive, scales.

Frontier and future exascale systems will allow researchers to simulate, and by extension rapidly and efficiently design, materials necessary for the most extreme environments, such as the inside of fusion reactors where temperatures can reach 100 million degrees Celsius; model complex chemical processes involving thousands of atoms for the engineering of chemical catalysts critical to a wide spectrum of industrial processes; and unravel the secrets of the cosmos via sophisticated, large-scale models of cosmic structure formation, including questions around dark matter and dark energy.

Exascale computing will bring plenty of unforeseen benefits as well. Just as the Space Race ushered in new technologies that led to such modern miracles as GPS and CT scans, the cutting-edge innovation required to stand up exascale systems will fortuitously advance a wide range of research and development and accelerate the evolution of consumer devices.

These numerous benefits will ensure continued global technological leadership for the U.S. It’s this leadership across the computing spectrum that makes Frontier possible and available for scientific research.

The Frontier supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory was revealed as the first true exascale machine in the 59th TOP500 list. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Machines of this magnitude require an entire computing ecosystem to take advantage of such massive hardware. While ORNL’s industrial partners were building Frontier, an army of computer scientists, engineers and scientific researchers were designing the necessary applications and systems software.

After all, what good is a computer the size of Frontier if not useful and affordable?

These efforts were largely the mission of the ECP, which is tasked with accelerating delivery of an exascale computing ecosystem to allow researchers to harness the power of Frontier in the modeling and simulation of critical scientific and national security challenges. That ecosystem consists of the exascale software stack and selected applications that will take full advantage of exascale-level computation. It also encompasses a wealth of knowledge accumulated over the past six years on the co-design and integration necessary to take advantage of new architectures, as well as a massive amount of connected processing nodes such as those in Frontier.

The ECP project will wrap up in 2024, and Frontier and the forthcoming exascale systems at Argonne and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories serve as testaments to ECP’s success.

I am fortunate to be part of such a remarkable effort, along with more than 1,000 others who worked tirelessly across the national labs, industry and academia to make this dream come true.

Our collaborative mission is the result of a public-private partnership that allowed us to eclipse the petascale barrier nearly 15 years ago and bypass the terascale 25 years ago. It’s a symbiotic model that has continuously propelled America forward and, as Frontier and future systems clearly demonstrate, is more critical than ever.

Frontier will go into full operation early next year and is being prepared to run a large suite of applications. But even as we look forward to realizing its potential, we also know science never sleeps.

The same people who made Frontier possible are designing the systems that will follow. No one knows quite what the future holds, but whether it’s quantum accelerators, AI-driven applications, coupled-facility workflows, or even the next great scale barrier in computing, the zettascale, Frontier and other upcoming DOE systems have laid the groundwork.

So, for today, let’s take a moment to appreciate those who made the monumental achievement of exascale possible and ponder the possibilities of the next great era in computing.

Source.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

ARM, Fujitsu Targeting Open-source Software for Power Efficiency in 2-nm Chip

July 19, 2024

Fujitsu and ARM are relying on open-source software to bring power efficiency to an air-cooled supercomputing chip that will ship in 2027. Monaka chip, which will be made using the 2-nanometer process, is based on the Read more…

SCALEing the CUDA Castle

July 18, 2024

In a previous article, HPCwire has reported on a way in which AMD can get across the CUDA moat that protects the Nvidia CUDA castle (at least for PyTorch AI projects.). Other tools have joined the CUDA castle siege. AMD Read more…

Quantum Watchers – Terrific Interview with Caltech’s John Preskill by CERN

July 17, 2024

In case you missed it, there's a fascinating interview with John Preskill, the prominent Caltech physicist and pioneering quantum computing researcher that was recently posted by CERN’s department of experimental physi Read more…

Aurora AI-Driven Atmosphere Model is 5,000x Faster Than Traditional Systems

July 16, 2024

While the onset of human-driven climate change brings with it many horrors, the increase in the frequency and strength of storms poses an enormous threat to communities across the globe. As climate change is warming ocea Read more…

Researchers Say Memory Bandwidth and NVLink Speeds in Hopper Not So Simple

July 15, 2024

Researchers measured the real-world bandwidth of Nvidia's Grace Hopper superchip, with the chip-to-chip interconnect results falling well short of theoretical claims. A paper published on July 10 by researchers in the U. Read more…

Belt-Tightening in Store for Most Federal FY25 Science Budets

July 15, 2024

If it’s summer, it’s federal budgeting time, not to mention an election year as well. There’s an excellent summary of the curent state of FY25 efforts reported in AIP’s policy FYI: Science Policy News. Belt-tight Read more…

SCALEing the CUDA Castle

July 18, 2024

In a previous article, HPCwire has reported on a way in which AMD can get across the CUDA moat that protects the Nvidia CUDA castle (at least for PyTorch AI pro Read more…

Aurora AI-Driven Atmosphere Model is 5,000x Faster Than Traditional Systems

July 16, 2024

While the onset of human-driven climate change brings with it many horrors, the increase in the frequency and strength of storms poses an enormous threat to com Read more…

Shutterstock 1886124835

Researchers Say Memory Bandwidth and NVLink Speeds in Hopper Not So Simple

July 15, 2024

Researchers measured the real-world bandwidth of Nvidia's Grace Hopper superchip, with the chip-to-chip interconnect results falling well short of theoretical c Read more…

Shutterstock 2203611339

NSF Issues Next Solicitation and More Detail on National Quantum Virtual Laboratory

July 10, 2024

After percolating for roughly a year, NSF has issued the next solicitation for the National Quantum Virtual Lab program — this one focused on design and imple Read more…

NCSA’s SEAS Team Keeps APACE of AlphaFold2

July 9, 2024

High-performance computing (HPC) can often be challenging for researchers to use because it requires expertise in working with large datasets, scaling the softw Read more…

Anders Jensen on Europe’s Plan for AI-optimized Supercomputers, Welcoming the UK, and More

July 8, 2024

The recent ISC24 conference in Hamburg showcased LUMI and other leadership-class supercomputers co-funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU), including three Read more…

Generative AI to Account for 1.5% of World’s Power Consumption by 2029

July 8, 2024

Generative AI will take on a larger chunk of the world's power consumption to keep up with the hefty hardware requirements to run applications. "AI chips repres Read more…

US Senators Propose $32 Billion in Annual AI Spending, but Critics Remain Unconvinced

July 5, 2024

Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, and three colleagues want the US government to spend at least $32 billion annually by 2026 for non-defense related AI systems.  T Read more…

Atos Outlines Plans to Get Acquired, and a Path Forward

May 21, 2024

Atos – via its subsidiary Eviden – is the second major supercomputer maker outside of HPE, while others have largely dropped out. The lack of integrators and Atos' financial turmoil have the HPC market worried. If Atos goes under, HPE will be the only major option for building large-scale systems. Read more…

Everyone Except Nvidia Forms Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Consortium

May 30, 2024

Consider the GPU. An island of SIMD greatness that makes light work of matrix math. Originally designed to rapidly paint dots on a computer monitor, it was then Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…

Shutterstock_1687123447

Nvidia Economics: Make $5-$7 for Every $1 Spent on GPUs

June 30, 2024

Nvidia is saying that companies could make $5 to $7 for every $1 invested in GPUs over a four-year period. Customers are investing billions in new Nvidia hardwa Read more…

Nvidia Shipped 3.76 Million Data-center GPUs in 2023, According to Study

June 10, 2024

Nvidia had an explosive 2023 in data-center GPU shipments, which totaled roughly 3.76 million units, according to a study conducted by semiconductor analyst fir Read more…

AMD Clears Up Messy GPU Roadmap, Upgrades Chips Annually

June 3, 2024

In the world of AI, there's a desperate search for an alternative to Nvidia's GPUs, and AMD is stepping up to the plate. AMD detailed its updated GPU roadmap, w Read more…

Some Reasons Why Aurora Didn’t Take First Place in the Top500 List

May 15, 2024

The makers of the Aurora supercomputer, which is housed at the Argonne National Laboratory, gave some reasons why the system didn't make the top spot on the Top Read more…

Intel’s Next-gen Falcon Shores Coming Out in Late 2025 

April 30, 2024

It's a long wait for customers hanging on for Intel's next-generation GPU, Falcon Shores, which will be released in late 2025.  "Then we have a rich, a very Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Google Announces Sixth-generation AI Chip, a TPU Called Trillium

May 17, 2024

On Tuesday May 14th, Google announced its sixth-generation TPU (tensor processing unit) called Trillium.  The chip, essentially a TPU v6, is the company's l Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

IonQ Plots Path to Commercial (Quantum) Advantage

July 2, 2024

IonQ, the trapped ion quantum computing specialist, delivered a progress report last week firming up 2024/25 product goals and reviewing its technology roadmap. Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

The NASA Black Hole Plunge

May 7, 2024

We have all thought about it. No one has done it, but now, thanks to HPC, we see what it looks like. Hold on to your feet because NASA has released videos of wh Read more…

Q&A with Nvidia’s Chief of DGX Systems on the DGX-GB200 Rack-scale System

March 27, 2024

Pictures of Nvidia's new flagship mega-server, the DGX GB200, on the GTC show floor got favorable reactions on social media for the sheer amount of computing po Read more…

MLPerf Inference 4.0 Results Showcase GenAI; Nvidia Still Dominates

March 28, 2024

There were no startling surprises in the latest MLPerf Inference benchmark (4.0) results released yesterday. Two new workloads — Llama 2 and Stable Diffusion Read more…

NVLink: Faster Interconnects and Switches to Help Relieve Data Bottlenecks

March 25, 2024

Nvidia’s new Blackwell architecture may have stolen the show this week at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California. But an emerging bottleneck at Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire