Energy efficiency is one of the key challenges affecting many parts of the IT industry including High Performance Computing (HPC).
The aim of the PRACE joint Pre Commercial Procurement (PCP), with funding of €9 million, was to explore, for the first time in Europe in the field of HPC, to what extent pre-commercial procurement could be used to improve the energy efficiency of general purpose supercomputers capable of running real PRACE production workloads.
Three contracts were awarded to Atos-Bull, E4 Computer Engineering SpA and Maxeler Technologies Ltd to implement a Whole-System Design for Energy Efficient HPC. Scalability and energy efficiency were evaluated initially with four different benchmark codes used in the PRACE user community, followed by real scientific and engineering applications. All of the vendors produced innovative technologies that will be deployed in future commercial offerings.
Atos-Bull, E4 Computer Engineering SpA and Maxeler Technologies Ltd were awarded contracts during PRACE joint Atos-Bull, E4 Computer Engineering SpA and Maxeler Technologies Ltd.
This project has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve better energy efficiency by relaxing the requirement for a general purpose upercomputer. Better energy efficiency is possible but comes at a cost of either making the system harder to use or only suitable for a smaller range of applications. Usually this is by exploiting some form of accelerator technology.
The project has also demonstrated the potential of energy aware scheduling and whole-system power capping that might be used to allow a system to adjust its operation to fit within local infrastructure power and cooling constraints. This will be also very important tools in a future exascale context were monitoring will be even more complex and critical.
The PRACE PCP carried out within the PRACE-3IP project has been a resounding success that has accelerated key R&D in European HPC and serves an excellent model for other PCPs. In addition, the PCP illustrated success in cooperation with vendors, co-design and collaborations with 3rd parties.
Read more about PCP
Read more about PRACE PCP through the following links.