Georgia Tech Keeps High Performance Computing Sights Set on Exascale at SC10


November 9, 2010

The road to exascale computing is a long one, but the Georgia
Institute of Technology, a new leader in high-performance computing
research and education, continues to win new awards and attract new
talent to drive technology innovation. From algorithms to architectures
and applications, Georgia Tech's researchers are collaborating with top
companies, national labs and defense organizations to solve the complex
challenges of tomorrow's supercomputing systems. Ongoing projects and
new research initiatives spanning several Georgia Tech disciplines
directly addressing core HPC issues such as sustainability, reliability
and massive data computation will be on display November 13-19, 2010 at
SC10 in New Orleans, LA.

Led by Jeffrey Vetter, joint professor of computational science and
engineering at Georgia Tech and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Keeneland
is an NSF-funded project to deploy a high-performance heterogeneous
computing system consisting of HP servers integrated with NVIDIA Tesla
GPUs. Entering its second-year, the project will deploy its initial
delivery system – the first of two experimental systems – this month.
During the initial performance runs, the Keeneland system was clocked at
running 64 teraflops per second, placing it well within the top 100
systems in the world on the most recent TOP500 list of supercomputers
(June 2010). Given the system's excellent energy efficiency of
approximately 650 megaflops per second per watt on the TOP500 Linpack,
the team is hoping to secure a strong position on the Green500 list of
the most energy efficient supercomputers in the world. Keeneland is
supported by a $12 million grant from NSF's Track 2D program, a
five-year activity designed to fund the deployment and operation of two
innovative computing systems, with an overarching goal of preparing the
open computational science community for emerging architectures that
have high performance and are energy efficiency.

"Heterogeneous computing will play an important role in the future
of high performance computing due to the new challenges of extreme
parallelism and energy efficiency," said Vetter. "The Keeneland
partnership is providing hardware and software resources, training, and
expertise to the computational science community at a critical time in
this transition to new computing architectures."

A Georgia Tech team led by George Biros is a Gordon Bell Prize
finalist at SC10 for their work demonstrating the simulation of blood
flow using heterogeneous architectures and programming models at the
petascale using CPU and hybrid CPU-GPU platforms, including the new
NVIDIA Fermi architecture and 200,000 cores of ORNL's Jaguar system.

Reliable and sustainable computing are core aspects of DARPA's
recently announced Ubiquitous High Performance Computing (UHPC) program,
a $100 million initiative to build future systems that dramatically
reduce power consumption while delivering a thousand-fold increase in
processing capabilities. Georgia Tech researchers are supporting several
components of the NVIDIA-led UHPC team, ECHELON, while the Georgia Tech
Research Institute (GTRI) will lead a fifth group, CHASM, that will
develop applications, benchmarking and metrics to drive UHPC system
design considerations and support performance analysis of the developing
system designs.

"The key to solving the energy requirement roadblock to future
systems is massive parallelism, which requires an entirely new way of
thinking about today's algorithms and architectures," said Dan Campbell,
senior researcher at GTRI and a co-PI of CHASM.

"UHPC provides an opportunity for anticipated application challenges
to influence the high-end system designs, in ways that are outside the
traditional planning of industrial roadmaps in high performance
computing," said David Bader, professor of Computational Science &
Engineering at Georgia Tech and Applications Lead for ECHELON.

Georgia Tech was also named an NVIDIA CUDA Center of Excellence in
August 2010, further empowering the Institute to conduct game changing
research and increase the computing power available to scientists and
engineers through massively parallel computing.

While computing systems one thousand times faster than current
petascale levels is still 10 years away, massive amounts of data are
currently being generated every day in health care, computational
biology, homeland security, commerce, social media and many other
industries. Georgia Tech is attacking the massive data analytics
challenge. The Georgia Tech-led Foundations on Data Analysis and Visual
Analytics (FODAVA) research initiative is in its third year, developing
state-of-the-art approaches for analyzing massive and complex data sets.
In September 2010, Edmond Chow joined the Georgia Tech School of
Computational Science and Engineering as an associate professor to
continue his work applying numerical and discrete algorithms to
simulated physical and scientific systems such as microbiology and
quantum chemistry as part of Georgia Tech's new Institute for Data and
High Performance Computing (GTIDH).

Georgia Tech is making the investments in personnel and
infrastructure required to be positioned competitively alongside the
nation's top HPC institutions. The Institute will continue to support
research and educational initiatives that push the boundaries of
technological capabilities and broaden the reach of computing
innovation.

Please visit Booth 1561 at the SC10 show in New Orleans, LA November 13-19, 2010.