News highlights

HPC Yearbook 19/20

Texas announces the world’s fastest academic supercomputer

Te Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), at Te University of Texas at Austin, has announced the launch of Frontera – the fastest supercomputer at any university and the fiſth most powerful system in the world – funded by a $60m award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Te system was designed with technologies

from Dell, Intel, Mellanox, DataDirect Networks, Nvidia, IBM, CoolIT and Green Revolution Cooling, TACC has a resource that will help the nation’s top researchers explore science at the largest scale and make the next generation of discoveries. ‘Scientific challenges demand computing

and data at the largest and most complex scales possible. Tat’s what Frontera is all about,’ said Jim Kurose, assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering at NSF. ‘Frontera’s leadership- class computing capability will support the most computationally-challenging science applications that US scientists are working on.’ Frontera combines Dell EMC PowerEdge

servers with 8,008 compute nodes, each of which contains two second generation Intel Xeon scalable ‘Cascade Lake’ processors, totalling more than 16,000 processors and nearly half a million cores, connected by a 200Gb per second HDR Mellanox InfiniBand high-speed network. Te system incorporates innovative flash storage from DataDirect Networks and novel cooling systems from CoolIT, Cooltera, and Green Revolution Cooling, and employs several emerging technologies at unprecedented scale, including high-powered, high-clock rate versions of the latest Intel Xeon processors, Intel Deep Learning Boost, Intel Optane memory and several kinds of liquid cooling. Frontera has been supporting science

applications since June and has already enabled more than three dozen teams to conduct research on topics from black hole physics, to climate modelling and drug design, employing simulation, data analysis and AI at a scale not previously possible. First announced in August 2018,

Frontera was built in early 2019 and passed formal acceptance recently. Te systems earned the No 5 spot on the TOP500 list in June, achieving 23.5 Pflops on the Linpack benchmark. Olexandr Isayev, a chemist from the

University of North Carolina, used Frontera to run more than three million atomic force


field calculations in less than 24 hours – a major achievement in high-speed quantum computation. Te calculations are part of an effort to train an AI system that can predict the likely characteristics of new drug compounds and identify compounds with the ability to target specific cells. ‘It’s a great machine, especially for

quantum mechanics applications,’ Isayev said. ‘We’re really looking forward to running large- scale calculations not possible before.’ Ganesh Balasubramanian, an assistant

professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Lehigh University, has been using Frontera to study the dynamics of organic photovoltaic materials and model manufacturing conditions. ‘Te lightning speed at which Frontera

performs computations is very beneficial,’ said Balasubramanian, who during the early user

Prace Shape programme announces support for more SMEs

Te Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (Prace) announced in September that, following the ninth call for applications to Shape, five more SMEs will be able to start working with the association to gain access to HPC expertise and resources, expand their experience and ultimately enhance their business. Of these SMEs, one is from Poland and one from Luxembourg, both countries new to Shape. Two projects are from startups. Shape is a pan-European programme that

promotes HPC adoption by SMEs, supported as part of the Prace initiative. Shape has helped 45 companies use HPC to benefit their business. Te projects cover topics such as deep learning, plasma simulation tool, CFD simulations of submersion cooling for HPC, cardiovascular stent design and

period experienced a five-time speed-up in his simulations of solar material manufacturing. ‘Overall, the entire pace of computational research will be increased by Frontera.’ Manuela Campanelli, an astrophysicist

at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has been using Frontera to perform the longest simulations ever of the merger of neutron stars, including for the 2017 event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational- Wave Observatory, the Europe-based Virgo detector, and 70 ground- and space-based observatories. ‘Frontera is an amazing system because

it gives us a very large number of computer nodes that we can use to solve very complex problems,’ Campanelli said. ‘Tese types of resources are unavailable on most university campuses, so we need to have Frontera to do our simulation.’

fire prevention through the use of machine learning and big data. One of the projects is a deep learning for

video and time series analysis by Itlaian firm NIER Ingegneria. Te aim is to implement a deep neural network to classify human tasks and compute mental workloads based on eye- tracking and electroencephalogram (EEG) data, combined with video analysis. Te image data analysis involved is highly

computationally and data intensive, hence the need for parallel processing. Te Prace partner will profile and benchmark the code to identify bottlenecks and attempt to implement a parallelised version which will run on GPUs, Intel Phi cores, or on a multi- core or multi-node CPU system. NIER will set up and run its project at

Prace member Cineca, from Bologna. NIER is an engineering consultant firm founded more than 40 years ago and employs around 125 people. It already has a collaboration with Dicam, at the University of Bologna.

High-Performance Computing 2019-20


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