Open Source HPC Benchmarking

Andy Turner, EPCC
22 May 2019

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  • Introduction
  • Open source benchmarking
  • Benchmarking results
  • Live demo
  • Next steps


Why benchmarking now?

  • Lots of different HPC systems available to UK researchers
    • ARCHER: UK National Supercomputing Service
    • DiRAC: Astronomy and Particle Physics National HPC Service
    • National Tier2 HPC Services
    • PRACE: pan-European HPC facilities
    • Commercial cloud providers
  • A diversity of architectures available (or coming soon):
    • Intel Xeon CPU
    • NVidia GPU
    • Arm64 CPU
    • …(variety of interconnects and I/O systems)
ARCHER logo Tier2 logo DiRAC logo PRACE logo

Audience: users and service personnel

  • Give researchers information required to choose right services for their research
  • Allow service staff to understand their service performance and help plan procurements

Benchmarks should aim to test full software package with realistic use cases

Initial approach

  • Use software in the same way as a researcher would:
    • Use already installed versions if possible
    • Compile sensibly for performance but do not extensively optimise
  • May use different versions of software on different platforms (but try to use newest version available)
  • Additional synthetic benchmarks to test I/O performance

Open source benchmarking

XKCD Open Source

What is open source benchmarking?

  • Full output data from benchmark runs are freely available
  • Full information on compilation (if performed) freely available
  • Full information on how benchmarks are run are freely available
  • Input data for benchmarks are freely available
  • Source for all analysis programs are freely available

Problems with benchmarking studies

Benchmarking is about quantitative comparison

Most benchmarking studies do not lend themselves to quantitative comparison

  • Do not publish raw results, only processed data
  • Do not publish details of how data was processed in suffcient detail
  • Do not provide input datasets and job submission scripts
  • Do not provide details of the how software was compiled

Benefits of open source approach

  • Allows proper comparison with other studies
  • Data can reused (in different ways) by other people
  • Easy to share and collaborate with others
  • Verification and checking - people can check your approach and analysis


Dilbert benchmarking

Multinode performance: CASTEP

Plot of CASTEP performance

Single node performance: GROMACS

System Architecture Performance (ns/day) cf. ARCHER
ARCHER 2x Intel Xeon E5-2697v2 (12 core) 1.216 1.000
Cirrus 2x Intel Xeon E5-2695v4 (18 core) 1.918 1.577
Tesseract 2x Intel Xeon Silver 4116 (12 core) 1.326 1.090
Peta4-Skylake 2x Intel Xeon Gold 6142 (16 core) 2.503 2.058
Isambard 2x Arm Cavium ThunderX2 (32 core) 1.250 1.028
Wilkes2-GPU 4x NVidia V100 (PCIe) 2.963 2.437

Next steps

  • Write a report on single node performance comparisons
  • Run multi-node Arm processor tests as soon as systems are available
  • Run benchmarks on commercial cloud offerings
  • Include ML/DL benchmarks in set
  • Perform performance analysis on existing benchmarks and add to repository

HPC-UK logo

Information on facilities and how to access them

Open Source, community-developed resource

Benchmark Performance Reports

Performance of HPC Benchmarks across UK National HPC services
A Turner, EPCC, The University of Edinburgh
J Salmond, University of Cambridge

Single Node Performance of HPC Benchmarks across UK National HPC services
A Turner, EPCC, The University of Edinburgh