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More than 3,500 people and 164 exhibitors attended the recent ISC High Performance conference in Frankfurt, a slight increase on the previous year.

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) continue to play a big role in the technologies and discussion at the show but there is also excitement about HPC, particularly, with the rise of AMD and Arm in recent months.

Both companies were the focus of a lot of the excitement at the conference, as they begin to increase their foothold on the HPC CPU market.

At the show Nvidia announced that it would bring the CUDA programming language to Arm. The company is making available to the Arm ecosystem its full stack of AI and HPC software - which accelerates more than 600 HPC applications and all AI frameworks - by the end the year.

Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, said: 'Supercomputers are the essential instruments of scientific discovery, and achieving exascale supercomputing will dramatically expand the frontier of human knowledge. As traditional compute scaling ends, power will limit all supercomputers. The combination of Nvidia's CUDA-accelerated computing and Arm's energy-efficient CPU architecture will give the HPC community a boost to exascale.'

Simon Segars, CEO of Arm, added: 'Arm is working with our ecosystem to deliver unprecedented compute performance gains and exascale-class capabilities to Arm-based SoCs. Collaborating with Nvidia to bring CUDA acceleration to the Arm architecture is a key milestone for the HPC community, which is already deploying Arm technology to address some of the world's most complex research challenges.'

AMD gave several presentations at its booth, including 'Experience the Exascale Era with AMD at ISC'19' from AMD's HPC segment manager for AMD EPYC server processors, Andy Parma. The talk highlighted its HPC architecture and ecosystem technologies that will be used to power the exascale era of HPC. The company also pushed the partnerships it has formed with many well-known HPC companies including; Dell EMC, HPE, Broadcom, Mellanox, Samsung and Xilinx.

Arm was showcasing its new toolset, which was acquired at the end of 2016. Arm is now delivering a full set of debugging and performance tools including Arm DDT, a parallel debugging tool and Arm MAP, a low-overhead profiler, to simplify the task of debugging, profiling and optimising applications running on the Armv8-A architecture.

Users can also use Arms C/C++ compiler which is compatible with Arm Forge and Arm Performance Libraries.

The Arm C/C++ Compiler includes support for the C++ 14 standard to improve the speed of server and HPC workloads on a wide range of Arm-based platforms.

The company also includes a Fortran compiler, which has been designed to get the most performance on any 64-bit Arm hardware used for scientific computing and high performance applications.

Storage innovation

Storage was another area of developments at ISC this year. Excelero and ThinkParQ announced it was bringing Integrated NVMesh and BeeGFS solution to market in order to boost the efficiency of data centre I/O.

The companies announced that they had successfully integrated Excelero's NVMesh software-defined block storage solution for shared NVMe at local latency, along with ThinkParQ's leading parallel cluster file system BeeGFS.

The companies stressed that early benchmark results from deployments were demonstrating resource utilisation and flexibility that is well-suited for data-intensive workloads such as HPC, AI, ML, and analytics.

'With Excelero's NVMesh, our customers have access to ultra-low latency, high-performance approach to scale-out storage,' said Frank Herold, CEO of ThinkParQ.

'We've been impressed with NVMesh's ability to deliver the high IOPS and ultra-low latency of NVMe drives over the network with highly available volumes - as well as options for distributed erasure coding and BeeGFS' unmatched ability to efficiently handle all kinds of access patterns and file sizes.'

To demonstrate the possibilities of this new scale-out infrastructure, the companies used the industry-standard mdtest and IOR benchmarks. The test system was a compact 2U 4-server chassis, with a total of 24 NVMe drives, connected via a 100Gbit RDMA network to 8 BeeGFS client compute nodes.

Tests were run on the exact same hardware configuration with BeeGFS utilising the direct-attached NVMe vs BeeGFS utilising NVMesh logical volumes. Taking advantage of NVMesh to offload mirroring operations, BeeGFS file-create operations were boosted by up to 300 per cent, while metadata-read operations were boosted by 250 per cent.

For small random file access, often seen as especially critical for application efficiency, NVMesh's low-latency technology boosted BeeGFS 4K write IOPS to 1.25 million per second, a 2.5x improvement.

By leveraging NVMesh distributed erasure coding for BeeGFS, customers can get up to 90 per cent usable capacity, while still tolerating drive failures. All the while, achieving 75GB/s streaming throughput from this entry-level system. 'You can't build tomorrow's enterprise on yesterday's infrastructure,' said Lior Gal, CEO and co-founder of Excelero. 'We're delighted at how smoothly NVMesh and BeeGFS work together, and the way we enable organisations to work without compromise to either IT teams or end-users. We look forward to working further with ThinkParQ, so that more organisations worldwide can maximise their NVMe ROI and the efficiency of their entire operations.'

DDN continued the storage innovation at ISC with its reveal of EXA5, the next generation of its ExaScaler Storage system.

EXA5 allows for scaling either with all NVMe fash or with a hybrid approach, offering flexible scaling according to needs with the performance of flash, or the economics of HDDs. Compatible with DDN's A3I storage solutions, which are factory pre-configured and optimised for AI, the system has been designed to reduce deployment time for an AI-ready data centre.

'We've built EXA5 directly for the new era of HPC and AI in the context of multicloud. We are introducing an entirely new set of features aimed at today's most demanding AI and HPC end-to-end requirements, at any scale,' said James Coomer, senior vice president of products, DDN. 'EXA5 leads on performance, on-premise and in the cloud, with unmatched capabilities in security, stability, user and data management.

Dan Stanzione, executive director, Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), said: 'With the goal of expanding the boundaries of science as we know it today, we are excited about the arrival of advanced new technology that can dramatically increase the performance at scale of our systems, and specifically of our new Top 10 supercomputer, Frontera.

'DDN's new EXA5 has the power to provide the best I/O performance our users have ever experienced, and greatly reduce the I/O bottlenecks in large scale computation.

'We believe that EXA5 will play a role in many of the groundbreaking discoveries scientists will make with Frontera,' Stanzione said.
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Author:Roe, Robert
Publication:Scientific Computing World
Article Type:Conference news
Date:Aug 1, 2019
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