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Indiana University leads grant to measure real-world application performance on next-generation computing systems

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.— Research Technologies at Indiana University jointly with the University of Delaware have been awarded $300,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to prepare real-world parallel scientific applications for integration into a benchmark suite that is currently under development at the High-Performance Group (HPG) of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC).

The two-year grant will support the preparation of real-world scientific applications to be included in a new application benchmark that is developed by SPEC/HPG. This includes refactoring the applications so that they can be compiled on different hardware and software platforms -- including IU’s Jetstream cloud computing system, the first production cloud funded by the NSF. In addition, this project will define datasets that that allow the applications to scale from a small number of nodes to large scale HPC systems. The new application benchmark will lead to a more realistic evaluation of HPC system designs and also enables better rankings of next-generation computing systems.

The advantage of using real-world applications over kernels or mini-apps is that application benchmarks not only expose the computation and communication hotspots but require the compilation and execution of the full application. This stress-tests the full hardware and software ecosystems, which is of critical importance for application developers, and especially for codes that have more than a few well-defined hotspots.

This work is fundamental to developing a balanced benchmark that represents the breadth of the high performance computing ecosystem.

Robert Henschel, Director of Science Community Tools in IU's Research Technologies

“This new grant allows us to study important parallel scientific applications and transform them into candidates for inclusion into the new SPEC HPG benchmark,” said Robert Henschel, Director of Science Community Tools in Research Technologies and PI of the award. “This work is fundamental to developing a balanced benchmark that represents the breadth of the high performance computing ecosystem.”

“UD (University of Delaware) has been a member of SPEC HPG over the past 3 years. We’re excited to continue our collaboration!” said Co-PI  Prof. Sunita Chandrasekaran, University of Delaware. “This new award will help us prepare a robust and high-quality software-hardware ecosystem that will be instrumental to advance science and innovation.” Co-PI Prof. Rudolf Eigenmann, also University of Delaware said, “Having benchmarks that are representative of real-world problems is key for building the right supercomputers.”

As computing power grows and scientific computing requires better performance, an application benchmark suite with solid metrics will have great impact on high performance computing and accelerate progress in all fields that are enabled by HPC. The proposed work leverages the NSF’s investment in domain science applications by preparing such applications for inclusion into the suite. The benchmark development process is an opportunity to bring the benchmarking community together and to define performance metrics for real world scientific applications.

About Research Technologies

UITS Research Technologies  provides the robust, reliable supercomputing and storage systems, advanced media and interactive visualization technologies, widely used scientific, analytical, and bioinformatics applications, and proven professional training, consultation, and support services that embody the core of Indiana University's advanced scholarly and artistic cyberinfrastructure, thereby enabling enhanced productivity and discovery in research computing, and amplifying the talents of local and national researchers. Research Technologies is a Pervasive Technology Institute center.

About the Pervasive Technology Institute

IU’s Pervasive Technology Institute is a collaborative organization with seven affiliated research and development centers, representing collaboration among the IU Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO (which leads the effort), University Information Technology Services, the Maurer School of Law, the Kelley School of Business, the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences at IU. Its mission is to transform new innovations in cyberinfrastructure and computer science into robust tools and support the use of such tools in academic and private sector research and development. IU PTI does this while aiding the Indiana economy and helping to build Indiana’s 21st century workforce.