NERSC Gets Ready for Exascale

New program encourages exascale coding techniques to prepare for the next-generation Cori supercomputer, which goes online in 2016.

The US National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) has launched a new program to prepare for the arrival of next-generation exascale supercomputers. The NERSC Exascale Science Applications Program (NESAP) will support the development of software tools that will be necessary to fully utilize the power of the Cori exascale supercomputer, which NERSC will bring online in 2016. NERSC will collaborate with Intel and Cray for the project, which will provide “broad-based training, access to early development systems, and application kernel deep dives” to prepare the development community for Cori’s arrival.
The Cori system, which was announced earlier this year, is based on the Intel Xeon Phi “Knights Landing” processor, which offers more than 60 cores per node and four hardware threads per core. The processor technology includes several innovations that will require some adaptation of conventional programming techniques, such as “higher intra-node parallelism, higher bandwidth, on-package memory, and longer hardware vector lengths.”
The program is expected to last until the Cori system goes online. According to NERSC Services Department Head Katie Antypas, “By starting this well before Cori arrives, we hope to ensure that our users, and the supecomputing community in general, are ready for the coming exascale revolution. Our goal is to enable performance that is portable across systems and will be sustained in future supercomputing architectures.”