IBM along with NVIDIA and two U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories today announced a pair of Centers of Excellence for supercomputing – one at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the other at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The collaborations are in support of IBM’s supercomputing contract with the U.S. Department of Energy. They will enable large-scale scientific and engineering applications both for supporting DOE missions, and for the Summit and Sierra supercomputer systems to be delivered respectively to Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore in 2017 and to be operational in 2018.
As the new supercomputers are being readied for installation, the Centers of Excellence will prepare the way for their optimum use in scientific research in such critical areas as energy, climate research, cosmology, biophysics, astrophysics and medicine, as well as in national nuclear security and other national security interests.
At each of the Centers, teams of technologists will gain crucial application perspective that will complement the hardware and software development of Summit and Sierra and will enable application readiness at the time of installation. Early application code innovation, executed in tandem with the system development, allows important two-way feedback between the system developers and the application writers. This will ensure that the ongoing system design will correctly and effectively support necessary user applications.
Incorporating IBM’s POWER processors with next-generation NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators and the NVIDIA NVLink high-speed processor interconnect, Summit and Sierra will use a highly efficient, high-performance data-centric computing approach that minimizes data in motion, thereby helping to optimize problem solving and time to solution while also greatly reducing overall energy consumption.
In addition to their data-centric design, the systems follow an OpenPOWER design concept that uses IBM’s open POWER architecture, as well as OpenPOWER Foundation member technology, including NVIDIA GPU and NVLink technologies, and Mellanox’s EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand system interconnect. Applications developed at the Centers of Excellence will take full advantage of current and future innovations introduced by the growing OpenPOWER community of developers led in part by over 145 OpenPOWER Foundation members worldwide. Code innovations realized at the Centers will also benefit general purpose OpenPOWER-based commercial systems to be introduced by IBM and others.
The work of the Centers of Excellence is managed by a technical steering group, which includes participants from IBM, NVIDIA and from Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories.
The Centers of Excellence are leveraging current IBM Power Systems and OpenPOWER-based technologies for the required programming efforts, with the first prototype of the supercomputers expected to be available to system developers and application writers in late 2015.