Supercomputing Green500 List Filling Out with GPUs, as Efficiency Goes Mainstream
Posted By : Mukesh Dube At 03-07-2014 23:00:04
Tags : Supercomputing Green500 NVDIA
by Sumit Gupta
Sumit Gupta joined NVIDIA in 2007 and manages the Tesla accelerated computing business unit. Sumit previously served in a broad range of positions, including product management at Tensilica, entrepreneur-in-residence at Tallwood Venture Capital, microprocessor designer at S3 Graphics, post-doctorate researcher at University of California, San Diego and Irvine, and as a software engineer at IBM, Intel, and IMEC Belgium. Sumit has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Irvine, and a bachelor’s in technology in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He has authored one book, one patent, several book chapters and more than 20 technical publications.
Every six months, the gurus of the supercomputing community publish a list of the 500 most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world. It’s called the Green500 list.
In the last few years, the most energy-efficient systems are being built with our GPU accelerators. In fact, the top 15 systems on the latest Green500 list use GPU accelerators at their heart.
The latest list marks a new milestone. The use of GPU accelerators has now gone beyond supercomputing and research users to mainstream enterprises. The top 15 in the list includes the oil and gas exploration giant, ENI of Italy, and four financial institutions.
That’s because for most data centers today, the energy and cooling costs of their high-performance computing systems over 3 to 4 years exceeds the cost of purchasing the system.
The enormous speed-ups of GPU accelerators over CPU-only systems offer research and enterprise data centers not just the ability to perform tasks that were not possible before, but also at an energy efficiency that dramatically lowers operational cost.
Driving the trend is NVIDIA’s ongoing effort to push the envelope in both performance and energy efficiency. The Kepler compute architecture introduced last year provided a big boost in this area, delivering three times better energy efficiency than its predecessor. We expect future NVIDIA architectures will extend this lead.
Tsubame-KFC Still No. 1
Still sitting atop the list is the Tsubame-KFC system at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
The world’s greenest supercomputer combines NVIDIA Tesla K20X GPUs with a specialized cooling system that immerses servers in a special oil-based liquid bath.
Designed for research in a range of areas, from drug discovery to earthquake simulation, Tsubame-KFC delivers a record 4.4 gigaflops per watt.
Tsubame-KFC: World’s most energy-efficient supercomputer
The Wilkes system at Cambridge University took second place, clocking in at 3.6 gigaflops per watt. Japan’s GPU-accelerated system at the Center for Computational Sciences, at the University of Tsukuba, took the third spot at 3.5 gigaflops per watt.
Moving Down the Exascale Path
Improving energy efficiency while increasing performance is central to achieving exascale computing — that is, running at a speed of 1 exaflops, or a million trillion flops.
That’s because if we were to build an exascale supercomputer today, it would require about 10 times more power than the city of San Francisco.
As future GPU accelerators achieve new levels of energy-efficient performance, and with the introduction of new, more efficient processor architectures for HPC, like ARM64, we expect to continue the steady advance to exascale.
You May Also Like
comments powered by Disqus