Advancing HPC through oneAPI Heterogeneous Programming in Academia & Research

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Intel oneAPI Academic Programs and Centers of Excellence 

By Arti Gupta, Director oneAPI Academic and Community Outreach, Intel Corporation

The ever-growing scale and speed of High Performance Computing (HPC) systems unleash many new opportunities for researchers and data scientists. Today, the first exascale-capable HPC systems, like the Department of Energy’s Aurora supercomputer, are poised to deliver the goods. Once fully deployed at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), projections suggest Aurora is expected to exceed two exaFLOPS of double precision compute performance. While this system provides all the capabilities needed to accommodate demanding converged workloads including AI training, modeling, and simulation, a new development challenge emerges. Modern HPC systems will include heterogeneous architectures with specialized hardware components. Rather than coding for various languages and proprietary approaches, developers prefer to write code once and know it will run optimally across diverse architectures. For these reasons, traditional coding approaches for proprietary architectures applied to heterogeneous systems come with inherent complexities that can delay new science. 

oneAPI helps solve this problem through an open industry effort supported by over 100 organizations.  oneAPI is an open, unified, cross-architecture programming model for CPUs and accelerator architectures (GPUs, FPGAs, and others). Based on standards, the programming model simplifies software development and delivers uncompromised performance for accelerated compute without proprietary lock-in, while enabling the integration of existing code. With oneAPI, developers can choose the best architecture for the specific problem they are trying to solve without needing to rewrite software for the next architecture and platform. 

Intel’s implementation of oneAPI includes the Intel® oneAPI Toolkits with advanced compilers, libraries, and analysis, debug and porting tools to help developers productively create cross-architecture code and accelerate performance. Intel is now leading an effort to help users at national laboratories, enterprise organizations, and educational settings succeed in using oneAPI. Intel focuses on three academic initiatives toward this goal: The oneAPI Centers of Excellence, the oneAPI Educator Program, and the oneAPI Student Ambassador program.

oneAPI Centers of Excellence

The Intel oneAPI Centers of Excellence program is targeted at academic universities/research labs to assist their efforts in simplifying coding for multiarchitecture systems. The Centers deliver key software code optimizations and new implementations, port strategic applications to oneAPI, and develop curriculum to further ecosystem adoption of the oneAPI. Intel provides the current 28 oneAPI Centers with access to the Intel® Developer Cloud, comprised of the latest pre-production and current Intel CPU, GPU and FPGA architectures. Institutions in the program also benefit from Intel’s engineering resources, and learning opportunities designed to extract the most from oneAPI. 

Once the Centers of Excellence utilize these resources to optimize their codes for scientific uses in fields like HPC simulations, biology or physics, the resulting code is freely accessible to any researcher who needs it.  These centers regularly showcase their innovative work at conferences and events, publish research papers in industry journals, and provide oneAPI training to students. This collaborative effort makes it easier for others to benefit from real-world knowledge using oneAPI and best practices.

For example, Intel works closely with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden  who are enabling the widely used molecular dynamics code – GROMACS – on oneAPI to futureproof solutions with a single SYCL codebase for multiarchitecture platforms across vendors.  This Center showcases how a single SYCL codebase makes it possible to run multi-devices such as Intel GPUs, AMD GPUs, and NVIDIA GPUs.

Another example is the center at Univ of California at Davis who are building Deep Learning tools for Scientific Visualization.

oneAPI Educator and Student Ambassador programs

The oneAPI Educator program and the accompanying oneAPI Student Ambassador program help professors and students gain familiarity developing with oneAPI and put that knowledge to practical use for multiplatform coding. Like the Centers of Excellence program, students and educators gain Intel’s engineering assistance, access to the Developer Cloud, and an invitation to oneAPI developer events designed to share success stories and offer technical trainings and hand-on workshops on topics such as AI, porting code to SYCL, performance analysis, and offloading code. However, there are some essential differences between these academic programs. 

The teacher-centric oneAPI Educator Program offers academic institutions ready to use  curriculum, video presentations, homework assignments, and quizzes to make the education and learning process for software development more turnkey and effective.   There are dozens of schools worldwide currently teaching oneAPI concepts in their classes including the University of Southern California, Technion, and Loyola.

The oneAPI Student Ambassador program takes a “pull-through” approach, encouraging up-and-coming student developers in academia to lead innovative development and research projects, engage their peers, and share oneAPI knowledge. Currently, participants include undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. level students. Ambassadors’ conduct workshops customized for student developers using content and training provided by Intel. Once trained on their campuses they can then use their accumulated knowledge and resources to create workshops that help other students to maximize their code for multiarchitecture HPC and AI systems.  There are students from schools worldwide who have become oneAPI Student Ambassadors, 

Learn more at Intel oneAPI Education Programs  – anyone interested in these programs is invited to apply.

Journey to Exascale

It’s exciting to imagine what breakthroughs will result from exascale computing. Aurora and other exascale systems open the door to identifying new medications, helping us understand the mysteries of the universe, making nuclear energy safer and more plentiful, and designing products that improve on those available today. For now, nobody can foresee all the discoveries coming in the next few years. However, it’s great to see coding barriers eliminated so scientists can focus more on their area of expertise and innovation rather than coding complexities. Then they can make the most of all the HPC power at their disposal.        

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