AMD highlights technology for HPC and scientific research

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At this year’s SC20 virtual event AMD is showcasing the new AMD Instinct MI100 accelerator and highlighting a growing list of deployments in HPC and scientific research. 

The new AMD Instinct MI100 accelerator has been reported by AMD to be the world’s fastest HPC GPU accelerator for scientific workloads, and the first to surpass the 10 teraflop double-precision (FP64) performance barrier.

However the company has also highlighted a trend of HPC centres selecting AMD’s latest CPU architecture. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), CSC Finland and EuroHPC recently introduced a new pre-exascale system, LUMI. Based on the HPE Cray EX supercomputer architecture, LUMI will use AMD EPYC CPUs and Instinct accelerators and is expected to provide a peak performance of 552 petaflops when it comes online in 2021.

In addition to the Finnish system, the number of AMD powered HPC systems continue to grow. Since SC19, there have been more than 15 supercomputing systems announced using AMD EPYC CPUs, Instinct GPUs, or both. A highlight of the systems includes

  • Chicoma – Los Alamos National Laboratory – this system is based on the HPE Cray EX supercomputer architecture and uses 2nd Gen AMD EPYC CPUs, combined with 300 terabytes of system memory for COVID-19 research,
  • Corona Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  – this system was recently upgraded with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, adding nearly 1,000 AMD Instinct MI50 accelerators, pushing peak performance to more than 11 petaFLOPS,
  • Mammoth – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – the “big memory” cluster uses 2nd Gen AMD EPYC Processors to perform genomics analysis and graph analytics required by scientists working on COVID-19.
  • Northern Data – a distributed computing system in Europe that is using AMD EPYC CPUs and Instinct accelerators for large scale HPC applications such as rendering, artificial intelligence and deep learning,
  • Pawsey Supercomputing Centre – Using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer architecture and future AMD EPYC CPUs and AMD Instinct accelerators, the supercomputer at Pawsey will be Australia’s most powerful supercomputer.

In addition, AMD is also powering the following supercomputers: Anvil and Bell – Purdue University, Big Red 200 – Indiana University, Bridges 2 – Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, CERN, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Expanse – San Diego Supercomputer Center, Goethe University Frankfurt, IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center, Jetstream 2 – Indiana University, Mahti – CSC, Mangi – University of Minnesota, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Red Raider – Texas Tech University, TinkerCliffs – Virginia Tech.

Michael Norman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center comments: ‘With the Expanse supercomputer, our goal is to give scientists and researchers cloud-like access to a high-performance machine that can handle everything from astrophysics to zoology. 

‘The 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors have helped us achieve fantastic performance with Expanse, enabling our researchers to do more science than before. We also have a great collaboration with AMD and have worked together to create a forum for AMD HPC customers to share experiences, information and more, to better benefit HPC research,’ Norman added.

To help researchers start on the path to exascale, AMD has provided Oak Ridge National Labs access to the new AMD Instinct MI100 accelerator, which has to deliver a giant leap in compute and interconnect performance. Bronson Messer, director of science, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility said: ‘Frontier, powered by AMD, represents a huge increase in computational power compared to today’s systems. It’s going to allow scientists to answer questions that we didn't have the answer to before. The ability to run molecular simulations that aren't just a few million atoms, but a few billion atoms, provides a more realistic representation of the science, and to be able to do that as a matter of course and over and over again will lead to a significant amount of important discoveries.’

AMD and Microsoft Azure Power cloud partnership

Azure is using 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors to power its HBv2 virtual machines (VMs) for HPC workloads. These VMs offer up to 2x the performance of first-generation HB-series virtual machines, can support up to 80,000 cores for MPI jobs, and take advantage of 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors’ up to 45 per cent more memory bandwidth than comparable x86 alternatives.

HBv2 VMs are used by numerous customers including The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology which used 86,400 cores to model a plant virus that previously required a leadership class supercomputer and the US Navy which rapidly deploys and scales enhanced weather and ocean pattern predictions on demand. HBv2 powered by 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors also provides the bulk of the CPU compute power for the OpenAI environment Microsoft announced earlier this year.

AMD EPYC processors have also helped HBv2 reach new cloud HPC milestones, such as a new record for Cloud MPI scaling results with NAMD, Top 20 results on the Graph500, and the first 1 terabyte/sec cloud HPC parallel filesystem. Across these and other application benchmarks, HBv2 is delivering 12x higher scaling than found elsewhere on the public cloud.

Adding on to its existing HBv2 HPC virtual machine powered by 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors, Azure announced it will utilise AMD EPYC processors, codenamed ‘Milan’, for future HB-series VM products for HPC.

AMD also announced that it is on track to begin volume shipments of the 3rd Gen EPYC processors with ‘Zen 3’ core to select HPC and cloud customers this quarter in advance of the expected public launch in Q1 2021.

New GPU technology

Built on the new AMD CDNA architecture, the AMD Instinct MI100 GPU enables a new class of accelerated systems for HPC and AI when paired with 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors. Supported by new accelerated compute platforms from Dell, HPE, Gigabyte and Supermicro, the MI100, combined with AMD EPYC CPUs and ROCm 4.0 software, is designed to propel new discoveries ahead of the exascale era. 

Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center and Embedded Solutions Business Group, AMD stated: ‘No two customers are the same in HPC, and AMD is providing a path to today’s most advanced technologies and capabilities that are critical to support their HPC work, from small clusters on-premise, to virtual machines in the cloud, all the way to exascale supercomputers. ‘Combining AMD EPYC processors and Instinct accelerators with critical application software and development tools enables AMD to deliver leadership performance for HPC workloads.’

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