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 industy updates delivered to you every week!

From Exasperation to Exascale: HPE’s Nic Dubé on Frontier’s Untold Story

December 2, 2022

The Frontier supercomputer – still fresh off its chart-topping 1.1 Linpack exaflops run and maintaining its number-one spot on the Top500 list – was still very much in the spotlight at SC22 in Dallas last month. Six Read more…

At SC22, Carbon Emissions and Energy Costs Eclipsed Hardware Efficiency

December 2, 2022

The race to ever-better flops-per-watt and power usage effectiveness (PUE) has, historically, dominated the conversation over sustainability in HPC – but at SC22, held last month in Dallas, something felt different. Ac Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2022 Edition

December 1, 2022

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…

IBM Quantum Summit: Osprey Flies; Error Handling Progress; Quantum-centric Supercomputing

December 1, 2022

Part scorecard, part grand vision, IBM’s annual Quantum Summit held last month is a fascinating snapshot of IBM’s progress, evolving technology roadmap, and issues facing the quantum landscape broadly. Thankfully, IB Read more…

AWS Introduces a Flurry of New EC2 Instances at re:Invent

November 30, 2022

AWS has announced three new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances powered by AWS-designed chips, as well as several new Intel-powered instances – including ones targeting HPC – at its AWS re:Invent 2022 Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 110419589

Thank you for visiting AWS at SC22

Accelerate high performance computing (HPC) solutions with AWS. We make extreme-scale compute possible so that you can solve some of the world’s toughest environmental, social, health, and scientific challenges. Read more…

 

shutterstock_1431394361

AI and the need for purpose-built cloud infrastructure

Modern AI solutions augment human understanding, preferences, intent, and even spoken language. AI improves our knowledge and understanding by delivering faster, more informed insights that fuel transformation beyond anything previously imagined. Read more…

Quantum Riches and Hardware Diversity Are Discouraging Collaboration

November 28, 2022

Quantum computing is viewed as a technology for generations, and the spoils for the winners are huge, but the diversity of technology is discouraging collaboration, an Intel executive said last week. There are close t Read more…

From Exasperation to Exascale: HPE’s Nic Dubé on Frontier’s Untold Story

December 2, 2022

The Frontier supercomputer – still fresh off its chart-topping 1.1 Linpack exaflops run and maintaining its number-one spot on the Top500 list – was still v Read more…

At SC22, Carbon Emissions and Energy Costs Eclipsed Hardware Efficiency

December 2, 2022

The race to ever-better flops-per-watt and power usage effectiveness (PUE) has, historically, dominated the conversation over sustainability in HPC – but at S Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2022 Edition

December 1, 2022

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…

IBM Quantum Summit: Osprey Flies; Error Handling Progress; Quantum-centric Supercomputing

December 1, 2022

Part scorecard, part grand vision, IBM’s annual Quantum Summit held last month is a fascinating snapshot of IBM’s progress, evolving technology roadmap, and Read more…

AWS Introduces a Flurry of New EC2 Instances at re:Invent

November 30, 2022

AWS has announced three new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances powered by AWS-designed chips, as well as several new Intel-powered instances Read more…

Quantum Riches and Hardware Diversity Are Discouraging Collaboration

November 28, 2022

Quantum computing is viewed as a technology for generations, and the spoils for the winners are huge, but the diversity of technology is discouraging collaborat Read more…

2022 HPC Road Trip: Los Alamos

November 23, 2022

With SC22 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to get back to the 2022 Great American Supercomputing Road Trip. To refresh everyone’s memory, I jumped in the c Read more…

QuEra’s Quest: Build a Flexible Neutral Atom-based Quantum Computer

November 23, 2022

Last month, QuEra Computing began providing access to its 256-qubit, neutral atom-based quantum system, Aquila, from Amazon Braket. Founded in 2018, and built o Read more…

Nvidia Shuts Out RISC-V Software Support for GPUs 

September 23, 2022

Nvidia is not interested in bringing software support to its GPUs for the RISC-V architecture despite being an early adopter of the open-source technology in its GPU controllers. Nvidia has no plans to add RISC-V support for CUDA, which is the proprietary GPU software platform, a company representative... Read more…

RISC-V Is Far from Being an Alternative to x86 and Arm in HPC

November 18, 2022

One of the original RISC-V designers this week boldly predicted that the open architecture will surpass rival chip architectures in performance. "The prediction is two or three years we'll be surpassing your architectures and available performance with... Read more…

AWS Takes the Short and Long View of Quantum Computing

August 30, 2022

It is perhaps not surprising that the big cloud providers – a poor term really – have jumped into quantum computing. Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google, and th Read more…

Chinese Startup Biren Details BR100 GPU

August 22, 2022

Amid the high-performance GPU turf tussle between AMD and Nvidia (and soon, Intel), a new, China-based player is emerging: Biren Technology, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Shanghai. At Hot Chips 34, Biren co-founder and president Lingjie Xu and Biren CTO Mike Hong took the (virtual) stage to detail the company’s inaugural product: the Biren BR100 general-purpose GPU (GPGPU). “It is my honor to present... Read more…

AMD Thrives in Servers amid Intel Restructuring, Layoffs

November 12, 2022

Chipmakers regularly indulge in a game of brinkmanship, with an example being Intel and AMD trying to upstage one another with server chip launches this week. But each of those companies are in different positions, with AMD playing its traditional role of a scrappy underdog trying to unseat the behemoth Intel... Read more…

Tesla Bulks Up Its GPU-Powered AI Super – Is Dojo Next?

August 16, 2022

Tesla has revealed that its biggest in-house AI supercomputer – which we wrote about last year – now has a total of 7,360 A100 GPUs, a nearly 28 percent uplift from its previous total of 5,760 GPUs. That’s enough GPU oomph for a top seven spot on the Top500, although the tech company best known for its electric vehicles has not publicly benchmarked the system. If it had, it would... Read more…

JPMorgan Chase Bets Big on Quantum Computing

October 12, 2022

Most talk about quantum computing today, at least in HPC circles, focuses on advancing technology and the hurdles that remain. There are plenty of the latter. F Read more…

Using Exascale Supercomputers to Make Clean Fusion Energy Possible

September 2, 2022

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and the stars, has incredible potential as a source of safe, carbon-free and essentially limitless energy. But Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

UCIe Consortium Incorporates, Nvidia and Alibaba Round Out Board

August 2, 2022

The Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) consortium is moving ahead with its effort to standardize a universal interconnect at the package level. The c Read more…

Nvidia, Qualcomm Shine in MLPerf Inference; Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Makes an Appearance.

September 8, 2022

The steady maturation of MLCommons/MLPerf as an AI benchmarking tool was apparent in today’s release of MLPerf v2.1 Inference results. Twenty-one organization Read more…

SC22 Unveils ACM Gordon Bell Prize Finalists

August 12, 2022

Courtesy of the schedule for the SC22 conference, we now have our first glimpse at the finalists for this year’s coveted Gordon Bell Prize. The Gordon Bell Pr Read more…

Intel Is Opening up Its Chip Factories to Academia

October 6, 2022

Intel is opening up its fabs for academic institutions so researchers can get their hands on physical versions of its chips, with the end goal of boosting semic Read more…

AMD’s Genoa CPUs Offer Up to 96 5nm Cores Across 12 Chiplets

November 10, 2022

AMD’s fourth-generation Epyc processor line has arrived, starting with the “general-purpose” architecture, called “Genoa,” the successor to third-gen Eypc Milan, which debuted in March of last year. At a launch event held today in San Francisco, AMD announced the general availability of the latest Epyc CPUs with up to 96 TSMC 5nm Zen 4 cores... Read more…

AMD Previews 400 Gig Adaptive SmartNIC SOC at Hot Chips

August 24, 2022

Fresh from finalizing its acquisitions of FPGA provider Xilinx (Feb. 2022) and DPU provider Pensando (May 2022) ), AMD previewed what it calls a 400 Gig Adaptive smartNIC SOC yesterday at Hot Chips. It is another contender in the increasingly crowded and blurry smartNIC/DPU space where distinguishing between the two isn’t always easy. The motivation for these device types... Read more…

Google Program to Free Chips Boosts University Semiconductor Design

August 11, 2022

A Google-led program to design and manufacture chips for free is becoming popular among researchers and computer enthusiasts. The search giant's open silicon program is providing the tools for anyone to design chips, which then get manufactured. Google foots the entire bill, from a chip's conception to delivery of the final product in a user's hand. Google's... Read more…

Not Just Cash for Chips – The New Chips and Science Act Boosts NSF, DOE, NIST

August 3, 2022

After two-plus years of contentious debate, several different names, and final passage by the House (243-187) and Senate (64-33) last week, the Chips and Science Act will soon become law. Besides the $54.2 billion provided to boost US-based chip manufacturing, the act reshapes US science policy in meaningful ways. NSF’s proposed budget... Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire