Argonne-Led Team Wins Technology Challenge at SC19

December 19, 2019

Dec. 19, 2019 — An extensive collaboration led by Argonne recently won the Inaugural SCinet Technology Challenge at the Supercomputing 19 conference by demonstrating real-time analysis of light source data from Argonne’s APS to the ALCF.

Accelerator-based light sources — large-scale instruments used to investigate the fundamental properties of matter — generate large amounts of data that require computational analysis. By designing an innovative method to support such investigations, a large collaboration led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory recently won the Inaugural SCinet Technology Challenge during the recent Supercomputing 19 (SC19) conference in Denver.

An Argonne-led collaboration won the first SCinet Technology Challenge at SC19 in November, for their work on real-time streaming data analysis. Argonne team members Ian Foster, Zhengchun Liu, Tekin Bicer, and Michael E. Papka are pictured with the award. Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

In addition to those from Argonne, the extensive team included members from Northwestern University, the Starlight Communications Exchange, Northern Illinois University, the University of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Research and Education Network.

Working directly from the SC19 show floor, the team demonstrated real-time analysis of light source data from Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) streamed at close to 100 gigabits per second to the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), both DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

“We built a software infrastructure that connects APS beamlines with remote high-performance computing resources and demonstrated that even computationally demanding data streams can be analyzed with low latency,” said Tekin Bicer, an assistant computer scientist at Argonne, who led the demonstration at SC19. ​“We put significant time and effort into this work, so I am very happy that the importance of our project and demonstration has been recognized.”

The team analyzed a portion of the data using 16,384 cores on Argonne’s Theta supercomputer. The analysis output was then streamed to Argonne’s visualization cluster, Cooley, which rendered a 3D image. The final output was streamed back to the show floor in real time, approximately 10-20 projections per frame, and with data remaining in memory throughout the entire workflow.

“This is truly fabulous, and a great testament to the effort of the entire team,” said Stephen Streiffer, interim deputy laboratory director for science, associate laboratory director for Photon Sciences, and director of the APS at Argonne.

“In order to make full use of the upcoming APS Upgrade, we really need to be able to analyze data in close to real time to make decisions on what to do next,” added Stefan Vogt, associate director of Argonne’s X-ray Science division. ​“Such analysis, and the fact that we have no place to put huge amounts of raw data, will require the ability to stream data into HPC-type resources as we acquire it.”

The seed for Argonne’s participation in the technology challenge was sown in May 2019, when Cees de Laat, a professor at the University of Amsterdam and an SC19 technology challenge jury member, encouraged Argonne’s Rajkumar Kettimuthu to participate.

“I got very excited about the technology challenge as its goal was very much in line with the research and development activities of our group,” said Kettimuthu, a computer scientist on the team. ​“My colleagues, Tekin Bicer and Zhengchun Liu, readily took the lead on this project and put in a tremendous amount of work. Such contributions from the entire team and strong support from the ALCF operations team made the demo successful.”

As part of the workflow demonstrated by the team during the competition, the researchers streamed data from the SC19show floor in Denver to Argonne’s Theta system using zeroMQ and Globus data transfer software. The data streamed was equivalent to that from 10 high-data-rate light source beamlines.

The supercomputer processed the data from one of the beamlines in real time, storing the remainder for later analysis. This real-time processing step involves using the lab’s Cooley visualization cluster for iterative reconstructions of a 3Dvolume from 2D images obtained at a microtomography imaging beamline.

The team streamed the processed results back to the SC19 show floor in Denver for near real-time visualization. The first results streamed within 5-10 seconds of the start of the experiment and continued at that rate until the end of the experiment. Careful management was required to ensure that the streaming flows of various data acquisition and analyses could co-exist without interference.

“The team really pushed forward the limits of technology,” said Ian Foster, Argonne distinguished fellow and director of the Data Science and Learning division. Foster initiated the ​“bandwidth challenge” at SC2000 — a precursor to the inaugural SCinet Technology Challenge — to spur the HPC community toward delivering innovative applications that will efficiently utilize the SCinet network and add significant value.

A demonstration of this scale requires a tremendous amount of teamwork, particularly when last-minute obstacles arise. For example, the team ran into an unexpected network problem just a few hours before the demonstration. Significant coordination and outstanding teamwork by ALCF operations and Argonne networking staff resulted in diagnosis and repair of a subtle network failure just 20 minutes before the demonstration.

“Demonstrations like this provide a glimpse into the future of how science will be done across DOE facilities, while at the same time stress testing the infrastructure we have in place today,” said Michael E. Papka, deputy associate laboratory director and director of the ALCF.

Joe Mambretti, director of StarLight and the International Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern, agrees. ​“The innovative techniques shown throughout this demonstration can not only be applied to light source investigations, they can be more broadly applied to many types of science workflows requiring real-time, data-intensive streaming from source to computational resources to visualization.”

The winning team consists of Tekin Bicer, Zhengchun Liu, Doga Gursoy, Junjing Deng, Jeff Klug, Vincent De Andrade, Pavel Shevchenko, Francesco De Carlo, Stefan Vogt, Venkatram Vishwanath, and Stefan Wild, Argonne National Laboratory; Michael E. Papka, Argonne National Laboratory and Northern Illinois University; Rajkumar Kettimuthu and Ian T. Foster, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago; Jim Chen, Starlight Communications Exchange and Northwestern University; and Joe Mambretti, Starlight Communications Exchange, Northwestern University, and the Metropolitan Research and Education Network.

Source: Rajkumar Kettimuthu, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

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!

What’s New in HPC Research: Volcanoes, Mobile Games, Proteins & More

July 14, 2020

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Joliot-Curie Supercomputer Used to Build First Full, High-Fidelity Aircraft Engine Simulation

July 14, 2020

When industrial designers plan the design of a new element of a vehicle’s propulsion or exterior, they typically use fluid dynamics to optimize airflow and increase the vehicle’s speed and efficiency. These fluid dyn Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios Adds DoD Research & Engineering Title

July 13, 2020

Michael Kratsios, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, has been appointed acting Undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering. He replaces Mike Griffin, who along with his deputy Lis Porter, stepped down last wee Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer Research Reveals Star Cluster Born Outside Our Galaxy

July 11, 2020

The Milky Way is our galactic home, containing our solar system and continuing into a giant band of densely packed stars that stretches across clear night skies around the world – but, it turns out, not all of those st Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprised of Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia A100 GPUs, and featuri Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Solution Channel

INEOS TEAM UK Accelerates Boat Design for America’s Cup Using HPC on AWS

The America’s Cup Dream

The 36th America’s Cup race will be decided in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021. Like all the teams, INEOS TEAM UK will compete in a boat whose design will have followed guidelines set by race organizers to ensure the crew’s sailing skills are fully tested. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Xilinx Announces First Adaptive Computing Challenge

July 9, 2020

A new contest is challenging the computing world. Xilinx has announced the first Xilinx Adaptive Computing Challenge, a competition that will task developers and startups with finding creative workload acceleration solutions. Xilinx is running the Adaptive Computing Challenge in partnership with, a developing community... Read more…

By Staff report

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprise Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Q&A: HLRS’s Bastian Koller Tackles HPC and Industry in Germany and Europe

July 6, 2020

In this exclusive interview for HPCwire – sadly not face to face – Steve Conway, senior advisor for Hyperion Research, talks with Dr.-Ing Bastian Koller about the state of HPC and its collaboration with Industry in Europe. Koller is a familiar figure in HPC. He is the managing director at High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and also serves... Read more…

By Steve Conway, Hyperion

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This yea Read more…

By John Russell

Racism and HPC: a Special Podcast

June 29, 2020

Promoting greater diversity in HPC is a much-discussed goal and ostensibly a long-sought goal in HPC. Yet it seems clear HPC is far from achieving this goal. Re Read more…

Top500 Trends: Movement on Top, but Record Low Turnover

June 25, 2020

The 55th installment of the Top500 list saw strong activity in the leadership segment with four new systems in the top ten and a crowning achievement from the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

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…

By Doug Black

Leading Solution Providers


Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

John Martinis Reportedly Leaves Google Quantum Effort

April 21, 2020

John Martinis, who led Google’s quantum computing effort since establishing its quantum hardware group in 2014, has left Google after being moved into an advi Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This