Multiscale Coupled Urban Systems Project to Use Exascale Computing to Aid City Management

October 18, 2017

Oct. 18, 2017 — Walk around any city neighborhood and chances are it looks nothing like it did 20 years ago. Thanks to growing urbanization, cities globally are rapidly expanding and accounting for more of our world’s population, gross domestic product and greenhouse gases.

Adapting a city to keep up with evolving needs is one of the greatest daily challenges that city planners, designers and managers face. They must consider how proposed changes will affect systems and processes such as our power grid, green spaces and public health facilities. They also need to understand how these systems and processes will influence each other.

Charlie Catlett wants to make their job easier by using the power of exascale – supercomputers that will be at least 50 times faster than those in use today. Catlett, a senior computer scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and a senior fellow at the Computation Institute, a joint institute of Argonne and the University of Chicago, leads the Multiscale Coupled Urban Systems project, which will create a computational framework for urban developers and planners to evaluate integrated models of city systems and processes.

With this framework, city planners can better examine complex systems, understand the relationships between them and predict how changes will affect them. It can ultimately help officials identify the best solutions to benefit urban communities.

“We’re focused on coupling models for urban atmosphere, building energy, socioeconomic activity and transportation, and we’ll will later expand to energy systems models,” Catlett said. “The framework will define what data will be exchanged between these models and how that data will be structured.”

Once the framework is complete, city planners such as those within the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development can work with researchers to answer questions, raise their own and optimize design proposals.

“It’s a whole new frontier for us,” said Eleanor Gorski, the deputy commissioner of planning, design and historic preservation for the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

“I think the most valuable aspect for us in city planning is being able to see how different conditions and parameters can affect different systems,” said Gorski. “For example, if you have a building that is 10 stories and the developers want to add five stories, one of the things we’d want to know is what effect that will have on transportation. Is it going to cause congestion? What we don’t have, and what I’m interested in, are those links between the data and the influence that one system has over another.”

Two models that Catlett and his collaborators are working to couple are EnergyPlus, a DOE program to model the energy demands of buildings, and Nek5000, a turbulence model that will track heat and airflow going through a city.

By pairing these two, researchers can, for example, capture how variations in local climate can influence heat transfer, ventilation and energy demands. From there, policy experts could propose ways to improve structure design in future developments.

First, however, researchers must determine what kind of information to share between models. Temperature, for example, is something Nek5000 could send to EnergyPlus, since air temperature naturally affects the temperature along building surfaces, as well as heating and cooling costs. Yet even though such models are connected, today most run independently, not generally coupled with others, Catlett said.

The coupling framework will also aim to incorporate data from sensory devices, like those used in Argonne’s urban Array of Things project. These sensors measure key components of the environment, such as ultraviolet and infrared light, cloud cover, temperature and humidity. These measurements can validate and improve existing models.

“The framework is key to solving these problems. It will essentially act as a data cache (short-term storage) through which a model can feed and receive information from another model or obtain data from sensory devices,” Catlett said.

One of the challenges is that simulations of models run at different rates. For example, simulating one hour of time with an atmospheric model may take a day of computing, while simulating the same amount of time with a building energy model may take half a second. To overcome this problem, researchers are examining various techniques.

“We’re exploring ways to match speeds by experimenting with the resolution of the simulations and by redistributing the resources on the machines, for example, having the more time-intensive simulation run on more computer cores than the less time-intensive one,” Catlett said.

Researchers are also examining how to make the framework flexible enough to handle a wide variety of models. With a more broad-based design, developers can use the framework to answer many different kinds of questions.

“To couple models, you’d traditionally have a laboratory such as Argonne or Oak Ridge develop a custom package. The problem is that it ends up being so specific that others can’t work with it, even if they’re trying to address similar questions. In that case, they have to get another custom package developed to address their study,” Catlett said.

“With our framework, we can eliminate this duplication of effort, but only if we design it in a general way such that other researchers can plug in their model with any of the others,” he said.

This project is funded by and is one of the applications of the Exascale Computing Project (ECP), a collaborative effort of the DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration, that seeks to provide breakthrough modeling and simulation solutions through exascale computing.

Laboratories participating in the Multiscale Coupled Urban Systems project include Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The Array of Things project is supported by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from Argonne National Laboratory and the Chicago Innovation Exchange.


Source: Joan Koka, Argonne National Laboratory

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!

Inspur Establishes Artificial Intelligence (AI) Department

Google Showcases 2017 AI Research Highlights

January 23, 2018

Looking for a good snapshot of the state of AI research? Cloud giant Google recently reviewed its 2017 AI research and application highlights in a two-part blog. While hardly comprehensive, it’s a worthwhile, fast read Read more…

By John Russell

UCSD, AIST Forge Tighter Alliance with AI-Focused MOU

January 18, 2018

The rich history of collaboration between UC San Diego and AIST in Japan is getting richer. The organizations entered into a five-year memorandum of understanding on January 10. The MOU represents the continuation of a 1 Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Tennessee), Satoshi Matsuoka (Tokyo Institute of Technology), Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and NREL Take Steps to Create a Sustainable, Energy-Efficient Data Center with an H2 Fuel Cell

As enterprises attempt to manage rising volumes of data, unplanned data center outages are becoming more common and more expensive. As the cost of downtime rises, enterprises lose out on productivity and valuable competitive advantage without access to their critical data. Read more…

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown and Spectre security updates on the performance of popular H Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

UCSD, AIST Forge Tighter Alliance with AI-Focused MOU

January 18, 2018

The rich history of collaboration between UC San Diego and AIST in Japan is getting richer. The organizations entered into a five-year memorandum of understandi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fostering Lustre Advancement Through Development and Contributions

January 17, 2018

Six months after organizational changes at Intel's High Performance Data (HPDD) division, most in the Lustre community have shed any initial apprehension aroun Read more…

By Carlos Aoki Thomaz

When the Chips Are Down

January 11, 2018

In the last article, "The High Stakes Semiconductor Game that Drives HPC Diversity," I alluded to the challenges facing the semiconductor industry and how that may impact the evolution of HPC systems over the next few years. I thought I’d lift the covers a little and look at some of the commercial challenges that impact the component technology we use in HPC. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

ANL’s Rick Stevens on CANDLE, ARM, Quantum, and More

January 8, 2018

Late last year HPCwire caught up with Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for computing, environment and life Sciences at Argonne National Laboratory, f Read more…

By John Russell

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Unveils Quantum Neural Network

November 22, 2017

The U.S. and China are leading the race toward productive quantum computing, but it's early enough that ultimate leadership is still something of an open questi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Showcases Growing Portfolio of EPYC and Radeon-based Systems at SC17

November 13, 2017

AMD’s charge back into HPC and the datacenter is on full display at SC17. Having launched the EPYC processor line in June along with its MI25 GPU the focus he Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Begins Power9 Rollout with Backing from DOE, Google

December 6, 2017

After over a year of buildup, IBM is unveiling its first Power9 system based on the same architecture as the Department of Energy CORAL supercomputers, Summit a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Perspective: What Really Happened at SC17?

November 22, 2017

SC is over. Now comes the myriad of follow-ups. Inboxes are filled with templated emails from vendors and other exhibitors hoping to win a place in the post-SC thinking of booth visitors. Attendees of tutorials, workshops and other technical sessions will be inundated with requests for feedback. Read more…

By Andrew Jones

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tensors Come of Age: Why the AI Revolution Will Help HPC

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago, parallel computing was coming of age. A bitter battle began between stalwart vector computing supporters and advocates of various approaches to parallel computing. IBM skeptic Alan Karp, reacting to announcements of nCUBE’s 1024-microprocessor system and Thinking Machines’ 65,536-element array, made a public $100 wager that no one could get a parallel speedup of over 200 on real HPC workloads. Read more…

By John Gustafson & Lenore Mullin

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Flipping the Flops and Reading the Top500 Tea Leaves

November 13, 2017

The 50th edition of the Top500 list, the biannual publication of the world’s fastest supercomputers based on public Linpack benchmarking results, was released Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

GlobalFoundries, Ayar Labs Team Up to Commercialize Optical I/O

December 4, 2017

GlobalFoundries (GF) and Ayar Labs, a startup focused on using light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between chips, today announced they've entered in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This