Computational Science Programming Model Crosses the Petaflop Barrier

February 12, 2010
Global Arrays are distributed dense arrays that can be accessed through a shared memory-like style.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that the PNNL-developed Global Arrays computational programming model can perform at the petascale level. The demonstration performed at 1.3 petaflops-or 1.3 quadrillion numerical operations per second—using over 200,000 processors. This represents about 50% of the processors' peak theoretical capacity. Global Arrays is one of only two parallel programming models that have achieved this level of performance.

The Global Arrays technology was used in a computational chemistry simulation that was presented during the annual International Conference on High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis in Portland, Oregon in November. The conference is sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The paper describing the simulation was a finalist for the Gordon-Bell prize that recognizes outstanding achievement in high-performance computing applications.

Why it matters: Global Arrays enables researchers to more efficiently access global data, run bigger models, and simulate larger systems, resulting in a better understanding of the data and processes being evaluated.

For example, the data used in this demonstration focused on water modeling. Water is essential in numerous key chemical and biological processes, and accurate models are critical to understanding, controlling, and predicting the physical and chemical properties of complex aqueous systems.

The computational chemistry simulation performed using Global Arrays provided researchers with more accurate data pertaining to research on the properties of water at the molecular level as well as its interactions with molecules and its behavior at interfaces.

Methods: Scientific data is stored in the memory of computer nodes. The processor in the node can only access the data in its own memory, while most analysis and research depends on the ability to access and use data stored in multiple nodes. Standard programming models require coordination between processes to send and receive data .

Global Arrays allows researchers to access data directly from the memory of another node without requiring interaction from the remote processor—the process can send or receive data to or from another process with no coordination in advance.

Explore further: Berkeley Lab researchers propose a new breed of supercomputers

More information: See the Global Arrays Toolkit website.

Related Stories

Kraken becomes first academic machine to achieve petaflop

October 8, 2009

The National Institute for Computational Sciences' (NICS's) Cray XT5 supercomputer—Kraken—has been upgraded to become the first academic system to surpass a thousand trillion calculations a second, or one petaflop, a ...

Recommended for you

Tech titans ramp up tools to win over children

December 10, 2017

From smartphone messaging tailored for tikes to computers for classrooms, technology titans are weaving their way into childhoods to form lifelong bonds, raising hackles of advocacy groups.

Mapping out a biorobotic future  

December 8, 2017

You might not think a research area as detailed, technically advanced and futuristic as building robots with living materials would need help getting organized, but that's precisely what Vickie Webster-Wood and a team from ...

Lyft puts driverless cars to work in Boston

December 6, 2017

Lyft on Wednesday began rolling out self-driving cars with users of the smartphone-summoned ride service in Boston in a project with technology partner nuTonomy.

Researchers 3-D print lifelike artificial organ models

December 6, 2017

A team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has 3D printed lifelike artificial organ models that mimic the exact anatomical structure, mechanical properties, and look and feel of real organs. These patient-specific ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Quantum_Conundrum
Feb 12, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jj2009
Feb 12, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Husky
not rated yet Feb 13, 2010
That looks like software implementation of Fermi GPU nodes, makws you wonder what a rack of these cards would do

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.