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Fujitsu Showcases Key Role in EU Project Addressing High Performance Computing Bottleneck

Fujitsu EMEIA

News facts:
  • Fujitsu is part of EU Horizon 2020 project addressing current industry-wide Input/Output (I/O) bottleneck in High Performance Computing (HPC)
  • NEXTGenIO project is led by EPCC, the supercomputing center at the University of Edinburgh, and aims to boost HPC system performance and open the door to Exascale computing, up to 1000 times faster than current Petascale systems
  • Project leverages newly-developed ‘non-volatile memory with persistence’, which combines the speed of main memory with the persistence of conventional storage
  • Fujitsu shows novel HPC node architecture using new Intel non-volatile memory technology at ISC 2018, from June 24-28 at Booth E-1020
Frankfurt, June 22, 2018 - At ISC 2018, Fujitsu is showcasing a prototype version of the HPC system node which plays a key role in the EU Horizon 2020 program’s NEXTGenIO project1. This is addressing the emerging bottleneck between rapidly-advancing compute speed in High Performance Computing (HPC) and the ability of storage systems to cope with the huge quantities of data required.
The project includes eight partners2 and is looking to resolve the HPC input/output (I/O) performance issue that is currently constraining research and development programs industry-wide; The objective is to increase the speed at which researchers can make new discoveries and companies can turn ideas into value by accelerating time-to-market for products and services. The performance of I/O heavy workloads achievable by current systems is holding back HPC research in areas such as Simulation, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Deep Learning. In these areas, it is vital to keep very large data sets in fast memory, as close to processing units as possible, for applications like transfer and reinforcement learning.
Resolving this I/O performance issue will deliver major benefits in various academic and engineering sectors, since it will help researchers and engineers gain real-time insight into what is happening during computer simulations – for example, a car in a wind tunnel – and allow the real-time adjustment of design parameters, while a simulation is running. Weather and climate modelling are also very I/O intensive, with precise forecasts calculated in short computing cycles that produce enormous amounts of data, which is then turned into many dozens of different weather forecasting products for a large range of institutional, scientific and industrial customers.
Fujitsu is tapping into its deep experience in designing, building and operating HPC systems and leveraging a development team and production facilities at its Campus Augsburg, Germany, to contribute hardware-related expertise to the EU project. NEXTGenIO is led by Professor Mark Parsons at EPCC, the supercomputing center at the University of Edinburgh, and includes eight partners from four European countries.
At the ISC High Performance3 event in Frankfurt, the NEXTGenIO project prototype system is being shown in public for the first time, with a demonstration on the Fujitsu booth. This system overcomes current I/O limitations by the use of Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory (NVRAM) based on Intel 3D XPoint™ memory technology to offer byte-addressable access for future Intel Xeon processors at much higher speeds than top-of-the-line solid-state drives (SSDs).
Current HPC system performance is measured in PetaFlop/s units (1015 floating point operations per second). Project partners are aiming to give a boost to increasingly complex scientific and engineering models which are driving the need for even faster simulation and data analytics/machine learning performance, with the next big step being Exascale computing, which reaches the order of 1000 PetaFlop/s.
Glenn Fitzgerald, Chief Technology Officer, Product business EMEIA at Fujitsu, comments: “In solving the I/O bottleneck and opening the door to Exascale computing, we will advance the capability of researchers working at the limits of current technologies, enabling them to reach new insights and bring their ideas to fruition faster. Fujitsu’s participation in this important EU Horizon 2020 project underlines our capabilities as a go-to partner in advanced technology development. These credentials go well beyond our proven technology and manufacturing capabilities and extend to Fujitsu’s co-creating approach, which is designed to ensure that the work we do has wide-reaching benefits for us and our people, for our customers and partners and for society as a whole.”
Professor Mark Parsons, Director of EPCC and Associate Dean for e-Research at the University of Edinburgh and Coordinator of NEXTGenIO, says: “Solving HPC challenges as difficult as this is all about collaboration. NEXTGenIO has brought together all of the key European R&D organisations in this area and I’m really pleased that Fujitsu will be showing the results of our work at ISC this year. NVRAM technology will transform HPC I/O and having a design and manufacturing facility in Europe as capable as Fujitsu’s Augsburg facility has allowed NEXTGenIO to develop one of the first working systems using this revolutionary memory.”
Notes to editors
1The NEXTGenIO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement no. 671951.
2 Partners in the NEXTGenIO project are:
  • Arctur: Expertise in industrial workloads contributed by this HPC computer center specializing in supporting small and medium enterprises
  • ARM/Allinea: Developer of leading-edge profiling tools which include information on I/O and NVRAM performance
  • Barcelona Supercomputing Center: Develops optimized file system and object store middleware for the NEXTGenIO system and contributes machine-learning workloads
  • EPCC at the University of Edinburgh: Develops system software for data-ware scheduling, contributes simulation applications and works on application characterization
  • European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts: Develops a workload generation tool and contributes the complex medium-range weather prediction workflow
  • Fujitsu: Provides hardware-related HPC expertise, leveraging a development team and production facilities in Augsburg, Germany
  • Intel: Provides NVRAM and system technology, leads workload characterization and benchmarking
  • Technical University of Dresden: Develops leading tools that provide unprecedented detail regarding I/O and NVRAM behavior
3Fujitsu is a Silver Sponsor of ISC 2018, taking place at the Frankfurt Messe from June 24-28, 2018. Fujitsu can be found at Booth E-1020.

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Date: 22 June, 2018
City: Frankfurt