Hardware

Spreading the love

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 10 Mar 2017 | 13:54

Binding processes to coresThread and process binding

Note, this post was updated on the 23rd March 2017 to include how to bind threads correctly on Cray systems (aprun -cc rather than taskset)

Making sure threads and processes are correctly placed, or bound, on cores or processors is essential to ensure good performance for a range of parallel applications. 

This is not a new topic, and has been covered well by others before, ie http://www.glennklockwood.com/hpc-howtos/process-affinity.html. Generally this is just handled for you; if you're running an MPI program then your mpirun/mpiexec/aprun job launcher will do sensible process binding to cores. 

NEXTGenIO: the next exciting stage begins!

Author: Michele Weiland
Posted: 24 Nov 2016 | 14:32

NEXTGenIO was one of several EC-funded exascale projects that we started work on last year. Here’s what’s been happening since it launched.

ePython: supporting Python on many core co-processors

Author: Nick Brown
Posted: 10 Nov 2016 | 11:24

Supercomputing, the biggest conference in our calendar, is on next week and one of the activities I am doing is presenting a paper at the workshop on Python for High-Performance and Scientific Computing.

ARCHER gains parallel Knights Landing capability

Author: Alan Simpson
Posted: 25 Oct 2016 | 15:42

The ARCHER national service is being enhanced by the addition of a parallel Knights Landing (KNL) system that will be available to all ARCHER users. 

Self racing cars

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 16 Sep 2016 | 11:34

Roborace DevBot on the trackAutonomous racing

Recently EPCC's Alan Gray and I attended a workshop at Donington Park held by Roborace.  For those who've not heard of Roborace, it's a project to build and race autonomous cars, along the lines of Formula 1 but without any drivers or human control of the cars.  Actually, it's more like Formula E but without drivers, as the plan is for the cars to be electric.

Secure access to remote systems

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 5 Sep 2016 | 10:35

06/09/16: As pointed out by my colleague Stephen in the comments after this post, the way to solve most of these issues is to tunnel the key authentication and therefore bypass the need to have private keys anywhere but on my local machine.  I'm always learning :)

Password vs key

Having to remember a range of passwords for systems that I don't use regularly is hard. 

You can use a password manager, but that only helps if I'm only ever trying to log in from my own laptop. If I have to log in from someone else's machine for any reason then I'd need to know the password.

MPI performance on KNL

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 30 Aug 2016 | 12:22

Knights Landing MPI performance

Following on from our recent post on early experiences with KNL performance, we have been looking at MPI performance on Intel's latest many-core processor.

MPI ping-pong latency on KNC and IvyBridge
Figure 1

The MPI performance on the first generation of Xeon Phi processor (KNC) was one of the reasons that some of the applications we ported to KNC had poor performance.  Figures 1 and 2 show the latency and bandwidth of an MPI ping-pong benchmark running on a single KNC and on a 2x8-core IvyBridge node.

Early experiences with KNL

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 29 Jul 2016 | 16:45

Initial experiences on early KNL

Updated 1st August 2016 to add a sentence describing the MPI configurations of the benchmarks run.
Updated 30th August 2016 to add CASTEP performance numbers on Broadwell with some discussion

EPCC was lucky enough to be allowed access to Intel's early KNL (Knights Landing, Intel's new Xeon Phi processor) cluster, through our IPCC project.  KNL Processor Die

KNL is a many-core processor, successor to the KNC, that has up to 72 cores, each of which can run 4 threads, and 16 GB of high bandwidth memory stacked directly on to the chip.

Creating a safe haven for health data

Author: Donald Scobbie
Posted: 6 Jul 2016 | 14:36

Safe havens allow data from electronic records to be used to support research when it is not practicable to obtain individual patient consent while protecting patient identity and privacy. EPCC is now the operator of the new NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) national safe haven in collaboration with the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research which provides the infrastructure. 

Latest Top500 list, looking beyond the number 1

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 21 Jun 2016 | 17:13

There's been a lot of discussion about the latest Top500 list, released this week at ISC16.  Most of the interest has been in the whopping new Chinese system, Sunway TaihuLight, which has come in at number 1 on the list with a massive 93 PFlop/s rpeak Linpack performance, and 125 PFlop/s rmax theoretical peak performance (3 times bigger than the previous number 1 system).Top500

Whilst this is a very interesting system, and much bigger than is currently planned elsewhere, it's not unknown for very large systems to come in and dominate the list like this.  Back in 2002, the Japanese Earth Simulator system became the number 1 machine with an rpeak of ~5x that of the previous number 1 system, and it stayed as the top machine for a number of years.

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