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Supercomputers:

Current Status and Future Trends


Presentation to Melbourne PC Users
Group, Inc.

August 2nd, 2016


http://levlafayette.com

0.0 About Your Speaker

0.1LevworksastheHPCandTrainingOfficerattheUniversityofMelbourne,anddo
thedaytodayadministrationoftheSpartanHPC/CloudhybridandtheEdwardHPC.
0.2PriortothatheworkedforseveralyearsattheVictorianPartnershipforAdvanced
Computing,whichhelookedaftertheTangoandTrifidsystemsandtaughtresearchers
at17differentuniversitiesandresearchinstitutions.Priortothatheworkedforthe
EastTimoresegovernment,andpriortothattheParliamentofVictoria.
0.3Heisinvolvedinvariouscommunityorganisations,collectdegrees,learns
languages,designsgames,andwritesbooksforfun.
0.4Youcanstalkhimat:http://levlafayette.comor
https://www.linkedin.com/in/levlafayette

1.0 What is a Supercomputer anyway?

1.1Asupercomputerisarathernebuloustermforanycomputersystemthatisatthe
frontlineofcurrentprocessingcapacity.
1.2TheTop500metric(http://top500.org)measurespurespeedoffloatingpoint
operationswithLINPACK.TheHPCChallengeusesavarietyofmetrics(floating
pointcalculationspeed,matrixcalculations,sustainablememorybandwidth,paired
processorcommunications,randommemoryupdates,discreteFouriertransforms,and
communicationbandwidthandlatency).
1.3Thetermsupercomputerisnotquitethesameas"highperformancecomputer",
andnotquitethesameas"clustercomputing",andnotquitethesameas"scientific(or
research)computing".

2.0 What are they used for?


2.1Typicallyusedforcomplexcalculationswhere
manycoresarerequiredtooperateinatightly
coupledfashion,orforextremelylargecollections
datasetswheremanycoresarerequiredtocarry
outtheanalysissimultaneously.
2.1Scientificusesinclude;climatemodellingand
weatherforecasting,fluiddynamics,molecular
modellingandgenomicsetc,materialsciences,
geophysics,astrophyics,particlephysicsetc,etc.
2.3Alocalexample:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/11/01/
3053386.htm
(imageofsimulatedperforinproteinbyMikeKuiperatVPAC)

3.0 Historical Examples


3.1Whencomputerswererare,theproportionofcomputersthatwere
"supercomputers"wasgreater.Somemajorhistoricalexamplesinclude:
3.1.1TheCDC6600whichusedgermaniumbasedtransistors,andwasthefastest
computerform19641970.CapableofthreemegaFLOPS.SuccessorwastheCDC
7600,whichcouldandcoulddeliverabout10MFLOPS,withapeakof36MFLOPS
3.1.2From1975famousCray1wasthemostnotablesupercomputerwithICswithtwo
gatesperchipandvectorprocessing.FirstinstalledatLosAlamosNational
Laboratoryin1976.Capableof160MFLOPS.
3.1.3ReplacementsincludedCrayXMP,releasedin1982,withsharedmemory
parallelvectorprocessorwithbetterchainingsupportandmultiplememorypipelines,
andtheCray2liquidcooledcomputerimmersedinatankofFluorinert(TM),released
in1985.Intheearly1990s,theFujitsuNumericalWindTunnelused166processorsin
avectorparallelarchecturetoreach235.8GFlop/sinNovember1993.

3.0 Historical Examples cont..

Image of CDC6600 by Jitze Couperus - Flickr: Supercomputer - The Beginnings, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19382150

4.0 Contemporary Architectures


4.1Inthe1990ssupercomputingmovedtowardsmassivelynumbersofprocessors;with
distributedsharedmemoryarchitectures,messagepassing,andclusters.Keystystems
includetheIntelParagon,whichcouldhaveupto4000processors,andtheIntelASCI
Redsupercomputerwhichreachedupto2.3796TFLOPS.
4.2TheinclusionofGPGPUsinsupercomputersinthe21stcenturywastheresultof
shaderandfloatingpointsupportwhichassistedinvectorandmatrixmathematics.
4.3TheIBMBluegeneheldthetoppositionin2004(70.72TFLOPS),2005(280.6
TFLOPS)and2007(478.2TFLOPS).Notablebecauseofitslowerindividualprocessor
speedinfavouroflowerpowerconsumption(moreprocessorsperrack),andattention
tointerconnectinnovations(multidimensionaltorusapproaches).
4.4InrecentyearsthedominanceofChinainthesupercomputingworldhasbecome
notablewiththeTianheIAin2005(2.566PFLOPS),theNUDTTianhe2in20132015
(33.86PFLOPS),andtheSunwayTaihuLightin2016(93PFLOPS)

4.0 Contemporary Architectures cont...


4.5Thearchitectureofsupercomputershasbeenlargelythesameforover25years;a
clusterofcommoditysystemunitswithahighspeedinterconnect.

5.0 Operating Systems


5.1Earliestsupercomputersusedproprietary
operatingsystemsthatshippedwiththehardware
system(ChippewaOperatingSystemforthe
CDC6000).Increasinglyhoweverthesebecamemore
genericbutstillproprietary;initialleadingexample
wasUNICOSfortheCray2.
5.2Bythemid1990sthetrendwastowardstheuse
ofUnixbasedsystems,reachingapeakinthelate
90swhere100%oftheTop500were*nixbased
(99.4%Unix,0.4%BSD,0.2%Linux),including
Solaris,UNICOS,IRIX,AIX,HPUXbeingnotable.
5.3ThiswasquicklyreplacedbyLinuxsystems;the
mostrecentsurveyis66.8%Linux,0.6%AIX,and
theremainder32.6%"Others"allbeingLinux
pluscustomisations(i.e.,99.4%Linuxintotal).

6.0 Parallel Programming


6.1Historically,softwarehasbeenwritten
forserialcomputation(discrete
instructions,sequentialexecution,single
processor)
6.2Parallelprogrammingisthe
proceduresusedforsimultaneous
computation(discreteparts,concurrent
executions,multipleprocessing).
6.3Flynn'sTaxonomyofComputer
Architectureintostreamsofdataand
instructions(SISD,SIMD,MISD,MIMD).
Laterthreearchitecturesallowforparallel
programming.

7.0 Data Parallelisation and Task


Parallelisation
7.1Dataparallelisationoccurswhenthesamethingishappeningmanytimes(e.g.,
multipleprocessorsperformingthesametask.Effectivelymultipleinstancesofa
sequentialprogram(exampleOctavejobarrayonEdward).
7.2Taskparallelisationoccurswhentheseparate
processorsengageindifferentactivitiesbutalso
communicatewithothergivingdatabackandforth.
7.3Usuallyimplementedinsoftwareasmessage
passinginterface(MPI)forsharedanddistributed
memorysystemsorasmultithreadedforkjoin
modelwithmultiprocessing(e.g.,OpenMP)on
sharedmemorysystems(ExampleUbiquitinprotein
simulationusingNAMDonEdward).

8.0 Schedulers and Resource Managers


8.1Supercomputersareinvariablysharedsystemsthatoperateinbatchmode.
Resourcemanagerstrackwhatsystemresourcearebeingused;thisinformationisfed
toajobschedulerwhichdetermineswhenajobwillrun(depeningonthepolicies
employed).
8.2Inearlysupercomputersthesewereincorporatedintotheoperatingsystem
(LivermoreTimeSharingSystem,CrayTimeSharingSystem).
8.3ThePortableBatchSystemwasdevelopedbyNASAintheearly90s;andreleased
asOpenPBSin1998.Thishastwomajorforks,TORQUEbyAdaptiveComputing,and
PBSProbyAltair.TheOracleGridEngine(previouslySunGridEngine)comesforma
differentcodebase.
8.4SLURM(SimpleLinuxUtilityforResourceManagement)isarelativelyrecent
initiativefromatLawrenceLivermoreNationalLaboratoryandothersthatisnow
usedon60%oftheTop500systems.

8.0 Schedulers and Resource Managers


cont..

9.0 Future Issues


9.1Aftertwentyyearsofemphasisongraphicuserinterfacesontheuserlevel,anda
moreconcernonperformanceratherthanusagethereisasubstantialtraininggap.
9.2Dataparalleljobsareanincreasingneedproportionallyandrelativelyeasierto
programthattaskparalleljobs.Cloudtechnologiesareaflexiblesolutiontosuchissues
butcanhaveahighertotaloperationscost,dependingonpackaging;HPCCloud
hybridsprovideflexibilityandperformance.
9.3Opensourcehasprovidedafoundationforsupercomputing;competitiverelations
inthedevelopmentofopensourceplusproprietaryextensions(inoperatingsystem,or
networktechnologies)providesmonopolisticadvantagesfortheindividualsystemsbut
retardsaggregateimprovement.
9.4Developmentssuchasmassivelymulticoreprocessors(1,000+)provideenormous
computingpowerbutwithconcurrencyissuesbetweenthecoresandmemory(e.g.,The
AngstromProject,SGIAltix).
9.5Extensionofgridliketechnologiestoprovideanextendedcontinuumbetween
tightlycoupledandlooselycoupledclustering(e.g.,Plan9OS)