Feb 26, 2009

HPC related seminars (Japan) in March

Unusual wet snow is falling silently outside. However, March is coming soon while no influenza pandemic came that our government strongly warned. It must be very good for medical researchers in infection diseases as well as for us. In addition, fortunately, there is not much notorious cedar pollen circulating in air until now.

Now I briefly list up HPC related seminars in Japan in March as far as I know.

- Pioneering Scientific Computation Forum 2009: “Computing in Molecular Science – Study Report and Introduction of New System”
Date/Time: 13:00-, March 8, 2009
Venue: Research Institute for Information technology, Kyushu University (Fukuoka)

Besides many academic speakers, “Docking Simulation with Molecular Design Software SYBYL” is presented by Dr. Jun Midorikawa, WorldFusion, Inc. that is a long life Japanese bio-venture company.

More details: http://www.cc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/scp/users/c_news/2008/158.html#1

- RIKEN HPC Symposium
Date/Time: 10:00-, March 12, 2009
Venue: Suzuki Umetaro Hall, Wako Institute, RIKEN (Saitama)

Theme is “The third Generation PC Clusters" this time.
More details: http://accc.riken.jp/HPC/Symposium/2008/index.html

RIKEN Benchmark Contest is continued and there are two benchmark problems announced, Poisson FDM-BMT, Poisson solver for incompressible fluid simulation, and ERI MO-BMT, two-electron integrals calculation in Hartree-Fock MO (Molecular Orbital) method.

More details: http://accc.riken.jp/HPC/Symposium/2008/bmt.html

- PC Cluster Workshop in Osaka
Date/Time: 10:00 - 17:45, March 13, 2009/02/27
Venue: Kansai System Laboratory, Fujitsu (Osaka)

PC Cluster Workshop in Osaka is organized by PC Cluster Consortium. There are many presentations, such as “introduction of SCore7", the latest release of high performance parallel programming environment.
More details: http://www.pccluster.org/event/workshop/pcc2009osaka/

PC Cluster Consortium promotes parallel programming contest on PC clusters, in cooperation with SACSIS 2009 (Symposium on Advanced Computing Systems and Infrastructures 2009) in May in Hiroshima.

More details: https://www2.cc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/procon/

- 2009 First Training Workshop for Parallelizing and Tuning of Codes
(1) MPI Parallel Programming (9:30 - 17:30, March 26)
(2) Program Tuning (9:30 - 15:00, March 27)
(3) MPI Parallel Programming (9:30 - 17:30, April 2)
(4) Program Tuning (9:30 - 15:00, April 3)
Venue: Wako Institute, RIKEN (Saitama)

Combination of scalar code tuning and MPI parallelization is an excellent method in the training workshop. A lecturer, Yukiya Aoyama, Advanced Center for Computing and Communication, RIKEN has long experience – probably almost twenty years – in such workshops

More details: http://accc.riken.jp/HPC/training/2009-1.html

Just for the icing on the cake, I show a couple of overseas events.

- HPC User Forum -- 32nd HPC User Forum -- April 20 to 22, 2009 -- In Roanoke, VA
This user forum is operated by IDC.
More details: http://www.hpcuserforum.com

- ISC'09 -- Hamburg, Germany -- June 23-26
Online registration starts on March 2: Early birds get the savings. The registration for industry costs 900 EURO that is approximately 115 Kyen. Although Japanese yen becomes stronger to EURO than one year before, it is still expensive.

More details: http://www.supercomp.de/isc09/

Feb 23, 2009

CRA Praised U.S. Congress for Strong Investments in Science, Innovation

In U.S., the House Democratic leadership released an official stimulus summary on January 15 and it looks great for researchers including HPC. However, the numbers in the Senate version on January 26 were not as generous as the House numbers. It looked quite difficult to expect conclusion because some of the significant differences between the two versions -- including significant differences in how the science investments in the bill are handled according to the policy blog of Computing Research Association (CRA) that is an association of more than 200 North American academic departments of computer science, computer engineering, and related fields; laboratories and centers in industry, government, and academia engaging in basic computing research; and affiliated professional societies.

CRA policy blog on February 13 showed happy message “Computing Researchers Applaud Congress for Strong Investments in Science, Innovation” since Congress passed an economic stimulus package that included substantial investments in the nation's science and engineering enterprise. It took effect on February 17, just in around one month from release of the official stimulus summary by House.

In the meantime, Japanese government budget draft for FY2009 includes some of investments for Japanese strengthening of science and technology and the draft with related bills can probably pass the Lower House before March after a long struggle according to some newspaper. Hence I have to recall still unchanged difference in speed of policy decision making between U.S. and Japan while I like to share such good news in U.S.

Anyway, the conference agreement for the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes investment more than $15 Billion in Scientific Research: $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $1.6 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, $400 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), $580 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and $8.5 billion for NIH!, etc. and many of HPC people in U.S. must be very happy.

This stimulus money will be invested besides the U.S. FY2009 budget for October 2008 to September 2009. Such huge and strong boost, maybe, will create very ambitious projects like mushrooms!?

Feb 19, 2009

The first European PetaFLOPS machine to Germany

The German research center, Forschungszentrum Juelich has selected IBM Blue Gene/P to develop the first supercomputer in Europe capable of one PetaFLOPS. IBM will partner with Juelich-based Gauss Centre for Supercomputing to install the new IBM Blue Gene/P System in the first half of this year.

This new Blue Gene System is the first to include new water cooling technology, created by IBM Research that uses room temperature water to cool the servers. This result is a 91 percent reduction in air conditioning units that would have been required to cool Forschungszentrum Juelich's data center with an air-cooled Blue Gene.
Inauguration and naming of the new systems will take place at an opening ceremony in mid 2009. Forschungszentrum Juelich has JUBL (Juelich Blue Gene/L) and then JUGEN (Juelich Blue Gene/P)、and now JU???? (Juelich Blue Gene/P Full System).

Key specifications of 1PetaFLOPS Blue Gene/P
Processors: 294,912 Processors
Type: PowerPC 450 core 850 MHz
Compute node: 4-way SMP processor
Memory: 144 Terabytes
Racks: 72
Network Latency: 160 Nanoseconds
Network Bandwidth: 5.1 Gigabytes
Energy consumption: 2200 Kilowatts

In addition, Forschungszentrum Juelich will install 100TFLOPS HPC-FF (for Fusion) cluster system for the fusion scientists´ simulation programs of ITER experimental fusion reactor. It will consist of 1,080 computing nodes each equipped with two Nehalem EP Quad Core processors from Intel. The grand total of 8,640 processors will have a clock rate of 2.93 GHz each, they will be able to access about 24 terabytes of total main memory and will be water-cooled. French supercomputer manufacturer Bull will integrate the system and InfiniBand ConnectX QDR from the Israeli company Mellanox will be used as the network.
ITER will go into operation in 2018 and will be the first fusion reactor to generate at least 500 megawatts of excess power. ITER will be constructed in Cadarache, in the south of France, by a consortium consisting of the European Union, Japan, the USA, China, Russia, India and South Korea.

Germany (or EU) looks running one or two year behind US but steadily in supercomputer performance. Their government is much more positive in HPC investment than several years ago. In Japan, the fastest system is a T2K in University of Tokyo (140TFLOPS) and I can not see any delivery plan for more than 200TFLOPS system this year. Hence we may have to look at back of German supercomputers for a while (probably until end of FY 2011, delivery of 10PetaFLOPS Japanese Next Generation Supercomputer.)

Feb 17, 2009

Bushfire and flooding in Australia

I have stayed in Cairns, northeast seashore in Australia from middle of last week as originally planned. It is natural that there is much precipitation this time because of rainy season in tropical climate region, but it was special this year and rivers in the northern part of Queensland flooded due to heavy rain, and ferocious crocodiles moved from rivers to residential area of some town this year.

Since main roads from southern area flooded, tracks were not able to reach to Cairns and vegetables have been swept away in supermarket. Fortunately trunk roads became available just a day before my stay, there were rich foods and clean town and I did not imagine heavy flooding, and couldn't find influence by large flood. Although it was quite fine, weather reports of a TV is continuing passing forecast of cloudy and thunderstorm every day. I guess Australian doesn’t care weather forecast so much compared with Japanese.

On the other hand, huge bush fire, once in 100 years, continued and troops just deployed. in the southeast part (the State of Victoria) of Australian. I remember that ABC TV news reporters always spoke "it is still uncontrolled".

Southeastern Australia has many trees of the eucalyptus which a koala likes, and leaves contain a lot of oil. Therefore, it is said that the bushfire is a natural phenomenon of Australia (or the seeds of a eucalyptus carry out prout at the high temperature during bush fire.

Anyway, fire scale is getting large and only this also becomes a social problem from a thing with many persons who lost all of their property and their life, and warning and correspondence of the authorities having been overdue etc.

However bushfire happens in very large scale, and there are many persons who lost entire properties or even their life, and warning and right actions by authorities were postponed. It will be getting political issues later.

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is the keyword to know why such serious drought has happened in southeastern Australia. IOD is discovered by Dr. Yamagata, Program Director of Frontier Research Center for Global Change, JAMSTEC, et al., in 1999, and it was published in Nature.

Moreover, they succeeded in prediction of the dipole mode phenomena in Indian Ocean using Erath Simulator supercomputer in 2007. It was the first time in the world.

It is linked to reduction of disaster how deeply Australian government understands such research findings, and make progress in right actions against risk of drought.However, reality has already showed answer.

I expected an adventure travel this time. But anything happened. The only trouble is our flight (JetStar, known due to cheaper airfare) from Cairns that delayed almost 6 hours, and arrived in Osaka midnight instead of Tokyo.

Feb 9, 2009

NNSA awards IBM Contract to Build Next Generation Supercomputer

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced a contract with IBM to bring world-leading supercomputing systems to its Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to help continue to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s aging nuclear deterrent on February 3, 2009.

IBM will deliver two systems: Sequoia, a 20 PetaFLOPS system based on future Blue Gene technology, to be delivered starting in 2011 and deployed in 2012; and an initial delivery system called Dawn, a 500 TeraFLOPS Blue Gene/P system, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2009. Dawn will lay the applications foundation for multi-PetaFLOPS computing on Sequoia.

Sequoia’s delivery and deployment schedule seems to be similar to Next Generation Supercomputer R&D Projec of Japant which completes delivery by March, 2012 (End of FY2011). Hence both supercomputer projects will compete in performance and delivery/deployment schedule each other.

Sequoia will have 1.6 Petabytes of memory, 96 racks, 98,304 compute nodes, and 1.6 million cores. It means that we will enter 1 million core system era soon. I cannot expect what happens in application code point of view.

Anyway, the House Democratic leadership has released an official stimulus summary on January 15 and it looks great. After that, Senate deal protects much of NSF Increase in Stimulus and there are a lot of gaps between both budget plans as shown in Computing Research Policy (CRA) blog. We need to watch progress of U.S. Stimulus plan in HPC view against current economic crisis for a while.

U.S. has been mainly driving HPC from the beginning. It may, thereby, be not surprized even if anything unexpected happens in HPC due to the crisis.

Feb 2, 2009

"Cray CX1 Experience Seminar" in Tokyo

There was a Cray CX1 Experience Seminar was held by Cray Japan in the afternoon of January 27 in Akihabara Convention Hall in Tokyo. Cray CX1 is the system which I was interested in since I found it which was put casually on the floor in the SC08’s Cray booth last November.

It was a good opportunity for me to attend this seminar since I left IBM and am not in any vendors now. (In this industry, we usually do not accept a competitor's entry to seminars mutually.) Many thanks to the courtesy of the Nakano-san, president of Cray Japan with decades-knowing.

As shown next, the seminar was organized as all-in-one about Cray CX-1 probably similar to CX-1 itself. Therefore it was a galloping seminar. But it was an intelligible seminar and I enjoyed it.

The conference room with 130 seats was almost full with attendees. That means that many people had various kinds of interests about the Cray's personal supercomputer with Accelerators.

- Trend of HPC (Cray Japan)
- CX1 overview and its advantage (Cray Japan)
- Parallel Computing by CUDA: Prologue (NVIDIA Japan)
- CX1 Demonstration
(1) Employment of SCRYU/Tetra and LS-DYNA with Cray CX1 Job Launcher (Cray Japan)
(2) SCRYU/Tetra Demonstration on Windows HPC Server 2008 (Software Cradle)
(3) LS-DYNA Demonstration (JSOL)
- CPU information and the latest road map (Intel)
- Efforts of Microsoft for HPC (Microsoft)

Cray CX1 looks one of typical small blade servers which can work by 100V power, for example, IBM Blade Center S. Cray provides a computing blade (two models), a storage blade (two models), and a graphics blade which includes NVIDIA QUADRO FX series or TESLA inside. Since it costs several million yen for four blade-configuration models in a campaign price according to a Cray brochure given in the seminar), the price range is in the Workgroup Server. It looks unusual that Cray which has a track record in supercomputer market of hundreds of million yen offers products for workgroup server, the minimum price range of HPC servers. They are going to enhance Cray CX-1 and follow-on systems in cooperation with Intel, NVIDIA and Microsoft.

According to a talk by NVIDIA, because TESLA is just an expensive and professional QUADRO without graphics function, they provide it around half the price of QUADRO. (In addition, it is supported by huge sales volume and revenue by GEFORCE in consumers market.) They target twice in 18 months for performance improvement. The NVIDIA speaker said that double precision feature had been added last November.

They reported that the number of downloads of CUDA, application development environment for GPU, already exceeded 120,000. CUDA ZONE web site may show such prosperous situation in development of GPU applications.

The CX1 demonstration of SCRYU/Tetra by the Software Cradle, well-known CAE software vendor in Japan, was a CFD calculation applied to an intake manifold and an engine cylinder. It is almost scalable up to eight cores for 180k element-model and up to 16 cores for 1 to 8 million element models (Approx. 10 times faster in 16 cores than 1 core. The performance is not sensitive to a number of elements for 1 million or more element case. InfiniBand is used. )

JSOL (Former Japan Research Institute Solutions) demonstrated the LS-DYNA standard problems (Neon refined and 3 Vehicle Collision) for automotive crash analysis. Their results showed a good scalability up to 32 cores. (26.8 times (IB interconnect) or 23.7 times (GbE interconnect) faster in 32 cores that single core)

I wonder why performance differences are so small between a high bandwidth and low latency IB case and a low speed GbE case. Maybe, both codes are already well tuned in order to minimize communication for moderately parallel computing (I do not confirm it yet).

If such ISV's CAE software could show scalable performance and an acceptable licensing fee structure up to 1,024 cores or more, Industrial sector's usage in HPC would be much more accelerated to larger systems, considering trends of HPC platforms. If so, many things will change. Do you agree?