Science - Written by on April 19, 2016

Scientific Computing Group Helps Projects Prepare for Next-Generation Supercomputers

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OLCF staff members have been working diligently with the Summit-era CAAR teams since 2015. Porting and optimizing codes for new architectures, hosting training and workshops—such as the one pictured above, which took place at ORNL in June, 2015—are just some of the methods for getting users prepared to use Summit.

OLCF staff members have been working diligently with the Summit-era CAAR teams since 2015. Porting and optimizing codes for new architectures, hosting training and workshops—such as the one pictured above, which took place at ORNL in June, 2015—are just some of the methods for getting users prepared to use Summit.

CAAR project showing progress in advance of Summit

One of the most important aspects of building a supercomputer for scientific discovery is ensuring that researchers can use it efficiently from the beginning.

When the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) signed the agreement for its upcoming supercomputer, Summit, OLCF staff also continued the Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) to help users effectively use Summit’s hybrid architecture.

CAAR was formed when the OLCF—a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory—began to procure its current supercomputer. The Titan-era CAAR initiative chose projects that worked toward DOE’s science goals, represented diverse science domains, and showed potential to make good use of Titan’s more than 16,000 nodes. The OLCF provided the teams with a scientific computing liaison and use of early-access developmental systems for Titan, including some of the first codes to have production runs on the full machine.

The success of CAAR during 2011–2012 led the OLCF to select new projects for CAAR in anticipation of Summit, which is set to begin producing science in 2018. Midway through the first phase of the CAAR project, the progress is encouraging once again.

“All the teams are very productive,” said Scientific Computing Group leader Tjerk Straatsma. “We currently have 13 projects, and all of them are diligently working on using GPUs. We have several projects that already run extremely well on GPUs, so they are anxiously awaiting the early-access systems.”

In addition to preparing for Summit, one of the core goals of this CAAR program is helping researchers port their codes to various computing architectures. Leaders at the OLCF, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working together to ensure that researchers can use their scientific applications effectively on the diverse computing architectures at these facilities.

The OLCF expects all projects to complete their application readiness phase by the time Summit becomes available; at that point, these CAAR “early science” projects will be able to demonstrate the scalability of their respective applications with large-scale, scientifically challenging projects.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov