Fujitsu Launches Global Initiative to Develop Mathematical Library for Petascale Applications
To be employed in maximising the performance of the Next-Generation Supercomputer (the “K” computer)
Tokyo, November 09, 2010 - Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe Ltd today announced the launch of the Open Petascale Libraries (OPL) project, a global collaboration initiative to develop a mathematical library (*1) that will serve as a development platform for applications running on petascale-class supercomputers. Initially involving ten partners, including universities and research institutions, the project will make the developed code publicly available in open-source form, thereby contributing to the computational science community as a whole. In addition, the output from the OPL project will be applied to help accelerate the application development for the Next-Generation Supercomputer (the "K computer") (*2), which is scheduled to begin operation in fiscal 2012. As a result, this project is expected to make an important contribution to a range of fields, such as the life sciences, development of new materials and sources of energy, disaster prevention and mitigation, manufacturing technologies and basic research into the origins of matter and the universe.
The launch of the OPL project is scheduled to coincide with SC10, a conference bringing together supercomputer professionals from around the world, with the project’s inaugural workshop to be held on November 14 in New Orleans, LA.
Comment from Dr Kimihiko Hirao, Director of the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science:
"Science in the 21st century needs to contribute to the sustainability of human society and produce technologies that support individuals. Supercomputing today is an invaluable foundation for advancing science and technology, and the scientific and technological achievements and knowledge gained through supercomputing will benefit humanity on many fronts. International collaboration is also increasingly important. This project follows this direction, and we aim to participate actively and produce meaningful results."
Comment from Professor Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee:
"The OPL project is an important step in the right direction. Open software initiatives like this succeed at developing high-quality, standardised software and building new partnerships. Fujitsu’s initiatives should be recognised as a significant advancement in the development process of petascale software and, more importantly, in collaborative communities to facilitate this development."
Open Petascale Libraries Project – Aims and Objectives
The aim of the OPL project is to develop a mathematical library that will play an important role in each of the representative application areas for petascale supercomputers. Target systems for the library are the Next-Generation Supercomputer and x86 HPC clusters, which are standard systems used as supercomputers. The library’s parallelisation will adopt a hybrid parallel programming model (*3), which is effective for today’s multi-core supercomputers. By using the code generated through this project, it will be possible for application developers to maximise the performance of petascale supercomputers.
Within the OPL project, the mathematical library will be developed through collaboration with computational scientists and application developers as open-source software. Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe Ltd, which possess an intimate knowledge of petascale supercomputers, will provide organisations participating in the project with technical information and a development environment. Furthermore, by making the code developed as part of the project publicly available in open-source form, it is expected to be widely employed in the broad range of fields in which petascale supercomputers are utilised.
The OPL project is being established by ten initial participating organisations, including universities and research institutions from Europe, the US, Asia and Oceania: The Society of Scientific Systems (Japan), The Australian National University (Australia), Imperial College London (UK), The Innovative Computing Laboratory at The University of Tennessee (US), The Numerical Algorithms Group (NAG) (UK), Oxford e-Research Centre (UK), The Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), University College London (UK), Fujitsu Limited, and Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe Ltd. RIKEN (Japan) and The National Institute of Informatics (NII) (Japan) are expected to join in the near future. The OPL project is expected to attract the participation of additional organisations that agree with its goals and can contribute to achieving them.
An advisory panel has been established to provide guidance on the project’s overall activities from both a technological and strategic standpoint. A number of key experts will participate in the panel, including Dr Kimihiko Hirao, director of the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, a newly formed international centre of excellence which aims to generate advanced scientific achievement and technical breakthroughs through use of the Next-Generation Supercomputer; Professor Jack Dongarra (of the University of Tennessee), one of the authors of the LINPACK, LAPACK, and ScaLAPACK mathematical libraries and one of the creators of the TOP500 supercomputer list (*4); Professor Bill Gropp (of the University of Illinois), the creator of the PETSc parallel numerical library and one of the driving forces behind the development of MPI (*5); and Professor Anne Trefethen (of the University of Oxford), who is known for her contributions to both academic and commercial mathematical library design and development.
Note to Editors:
Background and Technological Challenges
Petascale supercomputers, as exemplified by the Next-Generation Supercomputer, are capable of quickly performing large-scale and advanced computations that are difficult to solve using normal computers. As such, they are vital tools for solving important issues facing society, including the development of new medicines and improved healthcare, the development of new materials and sources of energy, and strategies for disaster prevention and mitigation; for improving manufacturing technologies; and for basic scientific research including the origins of matter and the universe. In order to maximise the performance of petascale supercomputers - which perform massive-scale parallel computations by linking tens of thousands of processors, each featuring many computational cores—it is necessary to develop applications that can efficiently coordinate hundreds of thousands of computational cores and smoothly perform these parallel computations. As a result, it has become a significant challenge for computational scientists to develop these applications.
A powerful approach to overcoming this challenge is to develop a common mathematical library that can be employed by applications in each area to fully realise the potential performance of petascale supercomputers, and such a library is highly anticipated by many application developers. Developing a mathematical library for petascale supercomputer applications requires far deeper knowledge of computer architecture and applications compared to the mathematical libraries used in existing supercomputer applications, underlining the significance of the OPL project’s collaborative approach.
1. Mathematical library: A collection of programs that perform common mathematical tasks associated with numerical computing.
2. Japan's Next-Generation Supercomputer, the "K computer": Under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's (MEXT) High Performance Computing Infrastructure initiative, Fujitsu has worked with RIKEN to develop a scalar parallel supercomputer. “K” is the nickname for the Next-Generation Supercomputer that was decided upon and announced by RIKEN in July 2010. "K" here draws upon the Japanese word "Kei" for 1016, representing the system's performance goal of 10 petaflops. In its original sense, "Kei" expresses a large gateway in Japanese, and it is hoped that the system will be a new gateway to computational science.
3. Hybrid parallel programming model (MPI parallel + thread-parallel): A method of programming parallel computers where message passing is used to communicate between nodes while multiple threads are used to achieve parallelism within a node.
4. TOP500 list: A list of the top 500 most powerful computers in the world, published twice a year. See http://www.top500.org/.
5. MPI: The Message Passing Interface, a programming model commonly used for parallel computing whereby communication is in the form of messages sent between processes.
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About Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe Limited
A leading research organisation, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe is part of Fujitsu’s global R&D network, with a dedicated division focused on high performance computing. Based in the UK, it acts as an important portal between technology and business, working to shorten the overall R&D cycle, en route to transforming future technologies into business realities. Fujitsu’s technology roadmap is based on consistent R&D activity, in areas ranging from materials and devices, to networks, IT systems and solutions.
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