Eni Doubles Up on GPUs for 52 Petaflops Supercomputer
Italy energy company Eni is upgrading its supercomputer with another helping of NVIDIA GPUs aimed at making it the most powerful industrial system in the world.
The news comes a little more than two weeks before SC19, the annual supercomputing event in North America. Growing adoption of GPUs as accelerators for the world’s toughest high performance computing and AI jobs will be among the hot topics at the event.
The new Eni system, dubbed HPC5, will use 7,280 NVIDIA V100 GPUs capable of delivering 52 petaflops of peak double-precision floating point performance. That’s nearly triple the performance of its previous 18 petaflops system that used 3,200 NVIDIA P100 GPUs.
When HPC5 is deployed in early 2020, Eni will have at its disposal 70 petaflops including existing systems also installed in its Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone, outside of Milan. The figure would put it head and shoulders above any other industrial company on the current TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful computers.
The new system will consist of 1,820 Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 servers, each with four NVIDIA V100 GPUs and two Intel CPUs. A Mellanox InfiniBand HDR network running at 200 Gb/s will link the servers.
Green Data Center Uses Solar Power
Eni will use its expanded computing muscle to gather and analyze data across its operations. It will enhance its monitoring of oil fields, subsurface imaging and reservoir simulation and accelerate R&D in non-fossil energy sources. The data center itself is designed to be energy efficient, powered in part by a nearby solar plant.
“Our investment to strengthen our supercomputer infrastructure and to develop proprietary technologies is a crucial part of the digital transformation of Eni,” said Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi in a press statement. The new system’s advanced parallel architecture and hybrid programming model will allow Eni to process seismic imagery faster, using more sophisticated algorithms.
Eni was among the first movers to adopt GPUs as accelerators. NVIDIA GPUs are now used in 125 of the fastest systems worldwide, according to the latest TOP500 list. They include the world’s most powerful system, the Summit supercomputer, as well as four others in the top 10.
Over the last several years, designers have increasingly relied on NVIDIA GPU accelerators to propel these beasts to new performance heights.
The SC19 event will be host to three paper tracks, two panels and three invited talks that touch on AI or GPUs. In one invited talk, a director from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will describe six top research directions to increase the impact of machine learning on scientific problems.
In another, the assistant director for AI at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will share the administration’s priorities in AI and HPC. She’ll detail the American AI Initiative announced in February.
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