Video: Comanche Collaboration Moves ARM HPC forward at National Labs

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(from right) Rick Stevens from Argonne discusses the Commanche Advanced Technology Collaboration with Rich Brueckner (insideHPC) and Nic Dube (HPE).

In this video from SC17 in Denver, Rick Stevens from Argonne leads a discussion about the Comanche Advanced Technology Collaboration.

The Comanche collaboration, an early-access program initiated by HPE’s Advanced Development Group, produced the first iteration of hardware based on Cavium ThunderX2 ARMv-8 processors. Partners and early adopters received prototype Comanche systems for software development and evaluation. The hardware design was refined twice before being passed to HPE’s engineering team for productization, shipping soon as Apollo 70.

The principal goal of the Comanche program is to accelerate the development of the HPC software stack for ARM.  Every member of the collaboration signed up to contribute a significant piece of software: from development tools, runtime enablement, interconnect drivers and file systems.  This effort allowed HPE, Cavium, ARM, Mellanox, AMD and RedHat to strengthen their product offering while HPC partner sites were able to get early access systems for evaluation and porting activities.

By initiating the Comanche collaboration, HPE brought together industry partners and leadership sites like Argonne National Laboratory to work in a joint development effort,” said HPE’s Chief Strategist for HPC and Technical Lead for the Advanced Development Team Nic Dubé. “This program represents one of the largest customer-driven prototyping efforts focused on the enablement of the HPC software stack for ARM. We look forward to further collaboration on the path to an open hardware and software ecosystem.”

Several efforts are now underway to develop a robust HPC software stack to make ARM processors capable of supporting the multithreaded floating-point workloads that are typically required by high-end scientific computing applications.

HPE is leading a collaboration to accelerate ARM chip adoption for high-performance computing applications. Argonne is working with HPE to evaluate early versions of chipmaker Cavium ARM ThunderX2 64-bit processors for the ARM ecosystem. Argonne is interested in evaluating the ARM ecosystem as a cost-effective and power-effective alternative to x86 architectures based on Intel CPUs, which currently dominate the high-performance computing market.

To support this work, Argonne will install a 32-node Comanche Wave prototype ARM64 server platform in its testing and evaluation environment, the Joint Laboratory for System Evaluation, in early 2018.

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