HPC

CSIRO orders 2,144 core, 174,720 GPU upgrade

Xenon Systems signed to deliver 120-teraflop supercomputer


The CSIRO has announced an upgrade to its GPU cluster to a hefty 134 nodes powered by 268 Intel E5-2650 processors and 390 NVidia Tesla 2050 GPU cards.

The 2,144 CPU core, 174,720 GPU core thumper will, according to the science agency’s head of Computation and Simulation Sciences Dr John Taylor, deliver up to 120 Teraflops of processing power, making it not only the fastest cluster in Australia, but could see the machine join the world’s top-100 list of high performance computers.

The cluster serves many of CSIRO’s research activities, Dr Taylor told The Register, including agricultural research, biomedical and bioengineering activities, mining research, environmental sciences and statistical modeling.

“Just about every area of CSIRO is able to make use of the cluster,” he said.

Since “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of research activities are supported in one way or another by the cluster, Taylor said, its speed can easily justify the roughly $AU1 million price tag of the upgrade. “There’s a huge amount of leverage off these computer systems,” Taylor explained.

As an example, he said, a task such as analysing the output of an experiment at the Australian Synchotron in Melbourne might take three weeks prior to the upgrade. If something wasn’t right about the result, the researcher would have no option but to book another slot at the synchrotron.

“With our CT reconstruction code running on the GPU cluster, people can put the sample in, collect the data, and see the images in 15 minutes. If there’s something else to look at, they can adjust the experiments on the spot.

“So it makes the experience of going to the synchrotron more interactive, and improves the productivity by as much as 20 percent,” he said.

A key to getting the most out of the cluster has been to train the user base in how to code for the cluster. “You have to understand how your code works, how the data is being moved, how the instructions are being called – and make sure that matches the hardware hierarchy,” he explained.

Xenon Systems says its solution runs up to four GPUs per unit of rack space, and runs up to 8 gigatransfers per second, and uses the new FDR10 InfiniBand interconnect solution.

Xenon had worked with CSIRO on previous iterations of the cluster, helping it achieve 11th place on the list of the world’s greenest supercomputers last November. Since then, Taylor noted, other implementations had pushed it down a few spots to number 14 or 15.

Taylor said Xenon “has been very helpful, they’ve been a partner in helping get the cluster up and running, and keeping it optimal, and providing a good service to our scientists.” ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Intel withholds Ohio fab ceremony over US chip subsidies inaction
    $20b factory construction start date unchanged – but the x86 giant is not happy

    Intel has found a new way to voice its displeasure over Congress' inability to pass $52 billion in subsidies to expand US semiconductor manufacturing: withholding a planned groundbreaking ceremony for its $20 billion fab mega-site in Ohio that stands to benefit from the federal funding.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Intel was tentatively scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ohio manufacturing site with state and federal bigwigs on July 22. But, in an email seen by the newspaper, the x86 giant told officials Wednesday it was indefinitely delaying the festivities "due in part to uncertainty around" the stalled Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act.

    That proposed law authorizes the aforementioned subsidies for Intel and others, and so its delay is holding back funding for the chipmakers.

    Continue reading
  • Intel demands $625m in interest from Europe on overturned antitrust fine
    Chip giant still salty

    Having successfully appealed Europe's €1.06bn ($1.2bn) antitrust fine, Intel now wants €593m ($623.5m) in interest charges.

    In January, after years of contesting the fine, the x86 chip giant finally overturned the penalty, and was told it didn't have to pay up after all. The US tech titan isn't stopping there, however, and now says it is effectively seeking damages for being screwed around by Brussels.

    According to official documents [PDF] published on Monday, Intel has gone to the EU General Court for “payment of compensation and consequential interest for the damage sustained because of the European Commissions refusal to pay Intel default interest."

    Continue reading
  • Intel delivers first discrete Arc desktop GPUs ... in China
    Why not just ship it in Narnia and call it a win?

    Updated Intel has said its first discrete Arc desktop GPUs will, as planned, go on sale this month. But only in China.

    The x86 giant's foray into discrete graphics processors has been difficult. Intel has baked 2D and 3D acceleration into its chipsets for years but watched as AMD and Nvidia swept the market with more powerful discrete GPU cards.

    Intel announced it would offer discrete GPUs of its own in 2018 and promised shipments would start in 2020. But it was not until 2021 that Intel launched the Arc brand for its GPU efforts and promised discrete graphics silicon for desktops and laptops would appear in Q1 2022.

    Continue reading
  • Lenovo, Barcelona Supercomputing Center sign joint research deal
    Collab to 'generate significant returns' for Europe in science, tech, economy

    Lenovo has inked an agreement with Spain's Barcelona Supercomputing Center for research and development work in various areas of supercomputer technology.

    The move will see Lenovo invest $7 million over three years into priority sectors in high-performance computing (HPC) for Spain and the EU.

    The agreement was signed this week at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-National Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS), and will see Lenovo and the BSC-CNS try to advance the use of supercomputers in precision medicine, the design and development of open-source European chips, and developing more sustainable supercomputers and datacenters.

    Continue reading
  • AMD bests Intel in cloud CPU performance study
    Overall price-performance in Big 3 hyperscalers a dead heat, says CockroachDB

    AMD's processors have come out on top in terms of cloud CPU performance across AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, according to a recently published study.

    The multi-core x86-64 microprocessors Milan and Rome and beat Intel Cascade Lake and Ice Lake instances in tests of performance in the three most popular cloud providers, research from database company CockroachDB found.

    Using the CoreMark version 1.0 benchmark – which can be limited to run on a single vCPU or execute workloads on multiple vCPUs – the researchers showed AMD's Milan processors outperformed those of Intel in many cases, and at worst statistically tied with Intel's latest-gen Ice Lake processors across both the OLTP and CPU benchmarks.

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft fixes under-attack Windows zero-day Follina
    Plus: Intel, AMD react to Hertzbleed data-leaking holes in CPUs

    Patch Tuesday Microsoft claims to have finally fixed the Follina zero-day flaw in Windows as part of its June Patch Tuesday batch, which included security updates to address 55 vulnerabilities.

    Follina, eventually acknowledged by Redmond in a security advisory last month, is the most significant of the bunch as it has already been exploited in the wild.

    Criminals and snoops can abuse the remote code execution (RCE) bug, tracked as CVE-2022-30190, by crafting a file, such as a Word document, so that when opened it calls out to the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool, which is then exploited to run malicious code, such spyware and ransomware. Disabling macros in, say, Word won't stop this from happening.

    Continue reading
  • Linux Foundation thinks it can get you interested in smartNICs
    Step one: Make them easier to program

    The Linux Foundation wants to make data processing units (DPUs) easier to deploy, with the launch of the Open Programmable Infrastructure (OPI) project this week.

    The program has already garnered support from several leading chipmakers, systems builders, and software vendors – Nvidia, Intel, Marvell, F5, Keysight, Dell Tech, and Red Hat to name a few – and promises to build an open ecosystem of common software frameworks that can run on any DPU or smartNIC.

    SmartNICs, DPUs, IPUs – whatever you prefer to call them – have been used in cloud and hyperscale datacenters for years now. The devices typically feature onboard networking in a PCIe card form factor and are designed to offload and accelerate I/O-intensive processes and virtualization functions that would otherwise consume valuable host CPU resources.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022