Earlier today AMD joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in announcing that El Capitan, a more than 2 exaflop Supercomputer will be powered by AMD Epic CPUs and Radeon Instinct GPUs as well as open source AMD ROCm heterogeneous computing software.
This more than 2 exaflop supercomputer is scheduled to be completed by early 2023 and promises to be the fastest supercomputer ever created. This record setting performance will support National Nuclear Security Administration requirements for its primary mission of ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.
“El Capitan will drive unprecedented advancements in HPC and AI, powered by the next generation AMD EPYC CPUs and Radeon Instinct GPUs,” said Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager, Datacenter and Embedded Systems Group, AMD. “Building on our strong foundation in high-performance computing and adding transformative coherency capabilities, AMD is enabling the NNSA Tri-Lab community—LLNL and the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories—to achieve their mission critical objectives and contribute new AI advancements to the industry. We are extremely proud to continue our exascale work with HPE and NNSA and look forward to the delivery of the most powerful supercomputer in the world expected in early 2023.”
AMD Technology Powering El Capitan
AMD is applying its experience from the high-performance computing industry and advancing its existing CPU and GPU designs for El Capitan, enabling the system to be architected for maximum performance and ease of use.
AMD technology within El Capitan includes:
- Next generation AMD EPYC processors, codenamed “Genoa” featuring the “Zen 4” processor core. These processors will support next generation memory and I/O sub systems for AI and HPC workloads,
- Next generation Radeon Instinct GPUs based on a new compute-optimized architecture for workloads including HPC and AI. These GPUs will use the next- generation high bandwidth memory and are designed for optimum deep learning performance,
- The 3rd Gen AMD Infinity Architecture, which will provide a high-bandwidth, low latency connection between the four Radeon Instinct GPUs and one AMD EPYC CPU included in each node of El Capitan. As well, the 3rd Gen AMD Infinity Architecture includes unified memory across the CPU and GPU, easing programmer access to accelerated computing,
- An enhanced version of the open source ROCm heterogenous programming environment, being developed to tap into the combined performance of AMD CPUs and GPUs, unlocking maximum performance.
“This unprecedented computing capability, powered by advanced CPU and GPU technology from AMD, will sustain America’s position on the global stage in high performance computing and provide an observable example of the commitment of the country to maintaining an unparalleled nuclear deterrent,” said LLNL Lab Director Bill Goldstein. “Today’s news provides a prime example of how government and industry can work together for the benefit of the entire nation.”
The DOE announced this next gen supercomputer back in August of 2019 but at the time had not made any decisions on who would be tasked to build El Capitan. They have also scaled the project up since that announcement as it was originally planned to be a 1.5 exaflop supercomputer.
“We are pleased to partner with AMD to bring together HPE’s Cray Shasta architecture with latest AMD EPYC CPUs and Radeon Instinct GPUs and provide leadership technology in support of the mission critical HPC and AI workloads for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,” said Peter Ungaro, senior vice president and general manager, HPC and Mission Critical Solutions (MCS) at HPE. “In our three U.S. exascale wins this last year, which includes the U.S. Department of Energy’s Frontier at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the HPE systems and technologies along with AMD processors and GPUs have become a unique solution for high-performance and exascale-class computing and we look forward to continuing our collaboration to further bolster innovation.”
El Capitan will be deployed with 4th generation Epyc processors code named “Genoa,” which is based on 4th Gen Zen architecture. As for the GPU side of things, it will use Radeon Instinct cards with 3rd generation Infinity architecture. The system will be implemented using Cray’s Shasta system and Slingshot interconnect.
These types of systems in the past have usually been powered by Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs. Now however AMD with its improvements in both the CPU and the GPU sector, we can expect AMD to continue to win more big projects such as EL Capitan.