Invitation-only “birds of a feather” group works to assess hybrid computing architecture success

The annual Cray User Group (CUG) meeting, held Apr. 29–May 3 in Stuttgart, Germany, convened for computational researchers to share their expertise and findings with one another, all in hopes of bringing next-generation supercomputers online. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers helped take the lead.

Most contributions from the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) dealt with the OLCF’s newest supercomputer—a Cray XE6 dubbed Titan. When Titan is fully online in early 2013, the computer will be capable of 20 petaflops, or 20 thousand trillion calculations per second. Titan will use a hybrid architecture that consists of traditional central processing units

Over 20 ORNL staff members took part in presentations during the conference, presenting five papers. In addition, the conference’s winning paper, “Software Usage on Cray Systems across Three Centers (NICS, ORNL and CSCS),” was coauthored by ORNL staff members Bilel Hadri, Mark Fahey, and William Renaud. One of the runner-up papers, “Porting the Community Atmosphere Model – Spectral Element Code to Utilize GPU Accelerators,” also had ORNL contributions from Matthew Norman, Richard Archibald, Valentine Anantharaj, and Katherine Evans.

OLCF staff organized a special invitation-only “birds of a feather” session where owners and administrators of Cray XK systems came together to discuss how to more effectively measure the performance of hybrid architecture systems. These administrators focused on finding methods to measure accelerator usage and efficiency on supercomputers. Both NVIDIA and Cray have developed products to tackle these issues, and the session focused on how effective these products have been, and what other products may be developed based on individual needs. —by Eric Gedenk