The Mont-Blanc prototype: An Alternative Approach for HPC Systems

Abstract : High-performance computing (HPC) is recognized as one of the pillars for further progress in science, industry, medicine, and education. Current HPC systems are being developed to overcome emerging architectural challenges in order to reach Exascale level of performance, projected for the year 2020. The much larger embedded and mobile market allows for rapid development of intellectual property (IP) blocks and provides more flexibility in designing an application-specific system-on-chip (SoC), in turn providing the possibility in balancing performance, energy-efficiency, and cost. In the Mont-Blanc project, we advocate for HPC systems being built from such commodity IP blocks, currently used in embedded and mobile SoCs. As a first demonstrator of such an approach, we present the Mont-Blanc prototype; the first HPC system built with commodity SoCs, memories, and network interface cards (NICs) from the embedded and mobile domain, and off-the-shelf HPC networking, storage, cooling, and integration solutions. We present the system’s architecture and evaluate both performance and energy efficiency. Further, we compare the system’s abilities against a production level supercomputer. At the end, we discuss parallel scalability and estimate the maximum scalability point of this approach across a set of applications.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01354939
Contributor : Jean-Francois Méhaut <>
Submitted on : Saturday, August 20, 2016 - 8:54:56 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 8:48:05 AM

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Nikola Rajovic, Alejandro Rico, Filippo Mantovani, Daniel Ruiz, Josep Vilarrubi, et al.. The Mont-Blanc prototype: An Alternative Approach for HPC Systems. International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC), Nov 2016, Salt Lake City, United States. ⟨hal-01354939⟩

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