Distinguished Argonne Fellow
Keeping Our Priority in Focus: The Quest for Capable Exascale Computing
Welcome to another edition of the ECP Update newsletter.
In this issue we shine the spotlight on Argonne National Laboratory with an interview featuring Mike Papka, director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility and deputy associate laboratory director for Computing, Environment, and Life Sciences; and Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for Computing, Environment, and Life Sciences.
We also have our second article on the exascale software stack, along with updates from Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
The Quest for Capable Exascale Computing
Following the recent PathForward announcement, a number of articles appeared with the colorful description of a “race to exascale” in the headlines. I thought it would be useful to address this metaphor, which is a bit misleading and not relevant to our exascale efforts.
Until recently, the United States has led the world in the practical application of high-performance computing (HPC) to addressing real-world problems in science and industry. But over the past few years, countries in Europe and Asia have been stepping up their games and applying significant resources to exascale research and development (R&D)—and they have made substantial progress.
To be sure, there has always been—and always will be—intense international competition for leadership in HPC. However, usually the ranking in that competition is based on less meaningful benchmarks that measure peak system speed. The Exascale Computing Project (ECP) wasn’t formed to just reach a benchmark milestone. ECP’s mission is much bigger: to drive a holistic approach to developing an exascale ecosystem—the hardware technology, the software, and the application codes that are part of what we refer to as a fully integrated, “capable” infrastructure.
The success of the US exascale mission requires the co-design and integration of all the elements necessary to support critical applications and real-world workloads. The project team focuses on developing key system capabilities that will propel the nation forward with powerful new technologies to significantly affect scientific discovery, national security, and economic competitiveness.
We know a lot is at stake. Our carefully considered research efforts in pursuit of exascale software, applications, and hardware technology are foundational to innovating multiple new technologies that strengthen the US position as a global technology leader.
Exascale will enable far more accurate, detailed, and larger-scale modeling and simulation than what we can do today, as well as new problem-solving approaches such as machine learning and large-scale data analytics. Those are the key payoffs we seek from exascale computing, and for that reason, we refrain from referring to our quest to achieve capable exascale computing as a race.
Looking Forward: SC17
When trying to grasp the breadth of the efforts underway within the ECP, nothing is quite as powerful as seeing demonstrations and presentations on the project’s scores of R&D activities.
We are now just 10 weeks away from SC17, the international conference for HPC, networking, storage, and analysis. Many ECP participants are preparing for this opportunity to highlight the ECP-funded work being carried out by several hundred researchers across the country.
We will provide additional updates on ECP activities at SC17 in the next two issues of this newsletter. Thanks for your interest in the ECP, and we hope to see many of you at SC17 in Denver.
Director, Exascale Computing Project
An Up-Close View of the Software that Underpins the Exascale Computing Project
When exascale systems become a reality, the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) will bring to those systems both existing high-performance computing (HPC) software and promising emerging research. Accordingly, one of the objectives of the ECP is to create a production-quality base—a software stack—to support the scientific applications that will run on these systems. In a previous edition of the ECP newsletter, we presented an introductory-level article about the project’s software stack for readers somewhat new to HPC and exascale. This time we delve deeper and offer an additional perspective on the topic.
Featured Lab Partner: Argonne
Working with its lab colleagues and partners, Argonne National Laboratory is using its experience and perspective to help frame and support the Exascale Computing Project.
ORNL’s Researchers Turn to Deep Learning to Solve Science’s Big Data Problem
A team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been awarded nearly $2 million over three years from the Department of Energy to explore the potential of machine learning in revolutionizing scientific data analysis.
Getting the Most-Powerful Supercomputers Up and Running
The lessons the US Department of Energy Office of Science learns from the supercomputers at its user facilities will extend to launching its next high-performance computing challenge: exascale.
Los Alamos Integrates Systems for Increased Stockpile Stewardship Computing Capability
The Trinity supercomputer’s two partitions sited at Los Alamos National Laboratory were recently merged, with both Xeon Haswell and Xeon Phi Knights Landing processors available for production computing in the laboratory’s classified network.
Exploring the Potential of New Hybrid Computing Architectures
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is bringing on D-Wave Systems to use quantum computing as an accelerator for the Exascale Computing Project.
ORNL Begins Construction of Summit Supercomputer
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has begun to install Summit, an IBM-NVIDIA-powered system. Besides providing unprecedented amounts of computational capacity for traditional high-performance computing applications, it will offer the largest platform in the world for deep learning workloads.
Energy Department Shoots for Exascale Computer in a National Lab by 2021
Federal News Radio, in its Agency of the Month program for August, spotlights the US Department of Energy and features an interview with Paul Messina, director of the Exascale Computing Project (ECP), concerning the ECP’s major aspects.
Interview Addresses HPE’s PathForward Award
Eng Lim Goh of HPE sat down for a video interview with insideHPC at ISC 2017 to discuss the company’s PathForward award and the challenges of energy-efficient exascale systems.
Going Deep to Crack Cancer Code
A multi-institutional research project led by Argonne National Laboratory is addressing the challenges of cancer through deep learning with an eye toward the future and exascale computing.
HPCwire: A Deep Dive on the Exascale Computing Project’s Cancer Research Effort
Recently, deep learning has emerged as a powerful tool in the arsenal and is a driving force in the CANcer Distributed Learning Environment (CANDLE) project, a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), that is also part of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project (ECP).
Commitment to Exascale Will Strengthen US Leadership
A recent EE Times blog post underscores the importance of supercomputing to society and the strength that public-private research partnerships such as the PathForward program of the Exascale Computing Project contribute to America’s competitiveness and innovation.
Workshop on Modeling and Simulation of Systems and Applications
Paul Messina, director of the Exascale Computing Project, and Doug Kothe, Application Development focus area lead, presented at the Workshop on Modeling & Simulation of Systems, ModSim 2017, which took place August 9–11 in Seattle, Washington. Messina gave the keynote address, and Kothe provided thoughts on ECP metrics.
How Smart is a Supercomputer?
Katherine Riley, director of science at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, talks about supercomputers, the Mira machine, and exascale.
HPC User Forum
With the mission of improving the health of the high-performance computing (HPC) industry through open discussions, the HPC Forum meets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 5–7. Doug Kothe, ECP Application Development focus area director, will present an update on the ECP, Wednesday, September 6th.