Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update from the HPC|GPU Working Group

In the last few weeks the HPC|GPU group has made public several interesting testing results. The latest publications can be found on the HPC|GPU Working Group page –

The most recent publication covered the GPU/Node optimum ratio topic, and in particular for the NAMD application (a parallel molecular dynamics code that received the 2002 Gordon Bell Award and designed for high-performance simulation of large biomolecular systems). The group was looking to indentify the desired ratio between how many GPU should be placed in a single node (from 1 to 4) in order to achieve the highest performance. The results indicate that a single GPU per node, and using more nodes is a better configuration performance wise versus packing more GPUs in a single node.

The testing effort covered other topics such as the performance gain versus the application dataset and more.  You are encouraged to review the complete results on the group page. The group welcomes new testing ideas and comments – please send them to the group mailing list.


Gilad, HPC Advisory Council Chairman

Evaporative immersion


I work as a Thermal Application Engineer in 3M’s Electronic Markets Materials Division.  For more than 50 years, my group has made fluorochemical heat transfer fluids that have been used for immersion cooling of high value electronics.  Some are familiar with the various Fluorinert™-cooled Cray supercomputers but our fluids are also used in tens of thousands of immersion cooled traction inverters and a variety of military platforms.  

Evaporative immersion is arguably one of the most efficient ways to implement fluids like ours for cooling electronics.  Heat sources on a PCB immersed in the fluid cause that fluid to boil.  This captures all heat and allows it to be transferred efficiently to air or water via a secondary condenser.  Historically, immersion systems of this type have used sealed pressure vessels with hermetic electrical connections and are evacuated and filled much like refrigeration systems.  Because it can be costly to create such an enclosure for computational electronics with a lot of IO, Engineers often dismiss the idea of immersion in the context of commodity datacenter equipment.  The concept we are promoting (see attached) eliminates these complexities.  Other advantages are summarized below.

- All server level and most rack level cooling hardware are eliminated
     – reduced environmental impact (landfill)
     – simplified server/rack design 
     - reduced cooling equipment cost 
     - no moving parts to fail or leak

- Essentially no thermal limit on server power density 
     - 4 kW/liter (4 MW/m3) has been demonstrated (>100X typical air cooled and >25X typical supercomputer) 
    -  possibility for reductions in raw material usage (PCB, etc) 

- Intrinsic fire protection

We are demonstrating this concept with real computing hardware but because we are using off-the-shelf air cooled components, the power density merits of this technology cannot be realized and the demonstration will lack luster.

We seek partners with challenging-to-cool hardware and an interest in exploring this technology.  We believe it could be a transformative technology enabling the next-generation power density goals of the HPC industry.

Readers can learn more at:

or write to me for an Overview Presentation.  Thank you and Best Regards,

Phil E. Tuma
3M Electronics Markets
Materials Division

11 days away! HPC Advisory Council Switzerland Workshop 2010

We are just 11 days away from the 3-day HPC Advisory Council workshop in Lugano, Switzerland.  We have an extremely packed agenda with a slew of exciting topics and presenters( see below). Hope you can make it…psst…it’s free! Register now.

Agenda – Day 1

9:00-9:30 Welcome session (Gilad Shainer, HPC Advisory Council)
9:30-9:45 HPC in the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (Dominik Ulmer, CSCS)
9:45-10:00 HPC Systems in the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (Neil Stringfellow)
10:00-10:30 HPC Storage Systems at CSCS (Hussein N. Harake, CSCS)
10:30-10:45 The HPC Advisory Council recent activities (Gilad Shainer, HPC Advisory Council)
10:45-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:00 Sponsor presentations (IBM, Microsoft, HP)
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-14:30 InfiniBand Architecture Overview (Erez Cohen)
14:30-15:15 Large scale applications scalability – past experience
15:15-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-16:15 InfiniBand storage tutorial (Toine Beckers, DataDirect Networks)
16:15-17:00 Using InfiniBand for High-Performance Visualization – HPV (Stefan Eilemann, Eyescale Software GmbH)
17:00-18:30 InfiniBand clustering basics hands-on training (Erez Cohen)
18:30-20:00 Evening Event

Agenda – Day 2

9:00-10:00 Advanced topics in HPC networking – adaptive/static routing, congestion avoidance (Sven-Arne Reinemo, Simula Research Laboratory)
10:00-10:45 Advanced HPC technologies – collectives operations and offloading (Gilad Shainer, HPC Advisory Council)
10:45-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:00 Sponsor presentations (Sun, AMD, Voltaire)
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-13:45 Networking topologies – CLOS (Fat-Tree), 3D Torus, network management
13:45-14:00 Sponsor presentation (Dell) 
14:00-14:30 The JuRoPA Supercomputer – Experience from Building a Supercomputer (Hugo Falter, ParTec)
14:30-15:30 Swiss Supercomputer Center – What We Need from InfiniBand? (Sadaf Alam, CSCS)
15:30-16:00 Coffee break
16:00-18:00 Clustering fabric management and monitoring hands-on (Erez Cohen)
18:00-18:30 Q&A
18:30-20:00 Evening Event

Agenda – Day 3 (Industrial Day)

8:45-9:00 Industrial Day introduction (Gilad Shainer, HPC Advisory Council)
9:00-9:45 Keynote session: HPC – Challenges of the 21st century (Goldi Misra, Centre For Development of Advanced Computing)
9:45-10:30 HP
10:30-10:45 Coffee Break
10:45-11:30 Voltaire
11:30-12:15 Sun
12:15-1:00 IBM
1:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-14:45 Dell
14:45-15:30 Microsoft
15:30-16:15 AMD Opteron™ processors scalability and roadmap (Herve Chevanne, AMD)
16:15-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-17:00 Putting Personality into High-Performance Computing (John D. Leidel, Convey Computer Corporation)
17:00-17:30 Gateway Technology
17:30-18:00 DataDirect Networks
18:00-18:30 Advancements in Copper Cable Interconnects for HPC Applications (Russell Hornung and Henry N.Yates II, W.L. Gore & Associates)
18:30-18:45 Adjourn and prize raffle!

Upcoming HPC Advisory Council Events

The Council continues to be very active with our ongoing worldwide workshop programs. Many thanks to our members for adding their support and sponsoring the events, such as AMD, HP, IBM, Mellanox, Microsoft, Voltaire and more.

First up: The HPC Advisory Council and the Swiss Supercomputing Centre will host the HPC Advisory Council Switzerland Workshop 2010  in the Lugano Convention Centre, Lugano, Switzerland, from March 15-17, 2010. This is an excellent training and educational opportunity for European-based, HPC and data center IT professionals (See AGENDA). Attendance is FREE and registration is now OPEN.

Second: The HPC Advisory Council will hold the 2010 European Workshop on May 30th, 2010, in conjunction with the ISC’10 conference in Hamburg Germany. The workshop will be a full day workshop, and will include coffee breaks, lunch and dinner, courtesy of the HPC Advisory Council. Attendance to the workshop is a nominal fee of  30€ . Register today for the conference by clicking on the Council Workshop box when registering for ISC.

More workshop are being planned for the second half of 2010. Stay tuned for more info.

Hope to see you all there,

Brian Sparks

Platform Computing and Instrumental Extend Strategic Partnership to Advance High Performance Cloud Computing for Government Sector

As U.S. government agencies and departments evaluate the potential cost savings, service level improvements and greater resource utilization offered by various cloud computing models, there is a recognized need for a technology-agnostic platform that can support and integrate legacy, heterogeneous HPC environments while also managing a wide-range of hardware, operating systems and virtual machines. In order to maximize prior technology investments, government agencies must invest in technologies that prevent vendor lock-in and that work with multiple types of operating systems.

With that, I wanted to draw your attention to a partnership between Platform and Instrumental to advance High Performance Cloud Computing for the Government Sector.  The partnership enhances Platform’s global service capabilities and gives users an end-to-end, full service solution that maximizes the value of Platform’s private cloud management and HPC cloud-enabling software solutions, Platform ISF and Platform ISF Adaptive Cluster.  The full press release can be seen here

Dave Ellis
Principal Technologist
Instrumental, Inc.

Interconnect analysis: InfiniBand and 10GigE in High-Performance Computing

InfiniBand and Ethernet are the leading interconnect solutions for connecting servers and storage systems in high-performance computing and in enterprise (virtualized or not) data centers. Recently, the HPC Advisory Council has put together the most comprehensive database for high-performance computing applications to help users understand the performance, productivity, efficiency and scalability differences between InfiniBand and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

In summary, there are a large number of HPC applications that need the lowest possible latency for best performance or the highest bandwidth (for example Oil&Gas applications as well as weather related applications). There are some HPC applications that are not latency sensitive. For example, gene sequencing and some bioinformatics applications are not sensitive to latency and scale well with TCP-based networks including GigE and 10GigE. For HPC converged networks, putting HPC message passing traffic and storage traffic on a single TCP network may not provide enough data throughput for either. Finally, there is a number of examples that show 10GigE has limited scalability for HPC applications and InfiniBand proves to be a better performance, price/performance, and power solution than 10GigE.

The complete report can be found under the HPC Advisory Council case studies or by clicking here.

IEEE Cluster 2009

The HPC Advisory Council participated in the “Workshop on High Performance Interconnects for Distributed Computing (HPI-DC’09)” part of the IEEE Cluster 2009 conference. Several members (Joshua More from AMD, Jeff Layton from Dell, and me) presented research results on “Scheduling Strategies for HPC as a Service (HPCaaS)”. You can find the presentation under the Content page/conference at the HPC Advisory Council main page.

The workshop was well organized by Ada Gavrilovska (Georgia Tech) and Pavan Balaji (Argonne National Lab) with the help from Steve Poole (Oak Ridge National Lab). Other interesting sessions were given by Nagi Rao (ORNL) on wide area InfiniBand, James Hofmann (Naval Research Lab) on Large Data project, Hari Subramoni (The Ohio State University) on InfiniBand RDMA over Ethernet (LLE) and others.

The next council event is the HPC China workshop. More data on the workshop is posted at –

Gilad Shainer HPC Advisory Council Chairman