Barcelona Supercomputing Center Adds HPC Expertise to OpenPOWER

Published on Thursday 27 October 2016


Eduard Ayguadé, Computer Sciences Associate Director at BSC

Barcelona Supercomputing Center joins OpenPOWER

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is Spain’s National Supercomputing facility. Our mission is to investigate, develop and manage information technologies to facilitate scientific progress. It was officially constituted in April 2005 with four scientific departments: Computer Sciences, Computer Applications in Science and Engineering, Earth Sciences and Life Sciences. In addition, the Center’s Operations department manages MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. The activities in these departments are complementary to each other and very tightly related, setting up a multidisciplinary loop: computer architecture, programming models, runtime systems and resource managers, performance analysis tools, algorithms and applications in the above mentioned scientific and engineering areas.

Joining the OpenPOWER foundation will allow BSC to advance its mission, improving the way we contribute to the scientific and technological HPC community, and at the end, serve society. BSC plans to actively participate in the different working groups in OpenPOWER with the objective of sharing our research results, prototyping implementations and know-how with the other members to influence the design of future systems based on the POWER architecture. As member of OpenPOWER, BSC hopes to gain visibility and opportunities to collaborate with other leading institutions in high performance architectures, programming models and applications.

In the framework of the current IBM-BSC Deep Learning Center initiative, BSC and IBM will collaborate in research and development projects on the Deep Learning domain, an essential component of cognitive computing, with focus on the development of new algorithms to improve and expand the cognitive capabilities of deep learning systems. Additionally, the center will also do research on flexible computing architectures –fundamental for big data workloads– like data centric systems and applications.

Researchers at BSC have been working on policies to optimally manage the hardware resources available in POWER-based systems from the runtime system, including prefetching, multithreading degree and energy-securing. These policies are driven by the information provided by the per-task (performance and power) counters available in POWER architectures and control knobs. Researchers at BSC have also been collaborating with the compiler teams at IBM in the implementation and evolution of the OpenMP programming model to support accelerators, evaluating new SKV (Scalable Key-Value) storage capabilities on top of novel memory and storage technologies, including bug reporting and fixing, using Smufin, one of the key applications at BSC to support personalized medicine, or exploring NUMA aware placement strategies in POWER architectures to deploy containers based on the workloads characteristics and system state.

Today, during the OpenPOWER Summit Europe in Barcelona, the director of BSC, Prof. Mateo Valero, will present the mission and main activities of the Center and the different departments at the national, European and international level. After that, he will present the work that BSC is conducting with different OpenPOWER members, including IBM, NVIDIA, Samsung, and Xilinx, with a special focus on the BSC and IBM research collaboration in the last 15 years.