Exploiting Market Realities to
Address National Security’s
High-Performance Computing Needs
Mark D. Hill
Computer Sciences Department
University of Wisconsin--Madison
(Modified 01/00 for IDA-Bowie)
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Bottom Line
• Recommendations
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Avoid directed procurement
Exploit clusters
Provide sustained funding to academia
Build the high-performance computing (HPC) market
• Talk Outline
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HPC is important to national security
History: PVPs and MPPs
Future: Clusters
Four Recommendations
Summary
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
HPC is Important to National Security
• HPC is the upper extreme of computing
– Supercomputers, etc. , costing $10M-$100M
• HPC delivers for some important problems
– Breaking encoded messages (NSA)
– Nuclear stockpile stewardship (e.g., LANL)
(without nuclear testing)
• Requirements
– Trillions of operations per second (tera ops)
– Trillions of characters of semiconductor memory (terabytes)
– 1015 characters on disks & tapes (petabytes)
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
History: Parallel Vector Processors (PVPs)
• E.g., 1980s supercomputers from Cray Research
– custom processors
(i.e., no microprocessor)
• Assessment
– Were ideal for NSA and LANL in 1980s
– Sales hurt for “killer micros”
– E.g., Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) buys Cray in 1995
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Cray-1
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
History: Massively Parallel Processors (MPPs)
• E.g., Cray T3D, Intel Paragon, & Thinking Machines
CM-5 in early 1990s
– Replicated identical hardware
(especially microprocessors)
– But specialized software
– Integrated computer vendor
• Assessment
TMC CM-5
– High-end HPC market stalls
(see next slide)
– Big companies lose interest in HPC
– Small companies go out of business
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
HPC Market in Billions US$ [IDC99]
• 1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1
0.8
< 1M ASP
>= 1M ASP
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
1993
1998
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Future: Clusters
• Clusters of “Nodes”
– Nodes: PCs to commercial servers
– Networks: connect nodes with standard network to custom
“system area network”
– Cluster software: optional software that makes cluster
appear more like an MPP
– Clusters are a big part of DOE’s Advanced Strategic
Computing Initiative (ASCI)
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Future: Clusters, continued
• Nodes
– Commercially viable
• PC or server nodes? (You get what you pay for)
– Available from multiple vendors
– Insures sustained availability
• Network
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Commodity LAN?
Specialized SAN?
You get what you pay for
Need to port to new LAN/SAN every few years
• Use middleware to rise above the details (e.g., MPI)
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Future: Clusters, continued
• Software
– Need to port to new cluster every few years
– Think about the performance lost from software not working
in the first 1.5 years of a cluster’s 3-year life
• Use shrink-wrapped software whenever possible
• Use standard languages & libraries
• For custom software: K.I.S.S.
• Integration -- Creating a “Computer System”
– Hardest problem (done by MPP computer vendor)
– Select & deploy network hardware, network protocols,
middleware, application library, debuggers, etc.
– Who does integration? Customer? 3rd party?
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Recommendation 1: Forget “Procurement”
• Can’t buy HPC like bombers or carriers
– Computer technology moves too fast for contractor mentality
(two times the performance in two years)
• Time lags too long
• Specifications too detailed
– Can’t depend on sustained government commitment
(post cold war)
– Can’t depend on one company (or a few)
• large - “zero billion dollar market”
• small - out of business
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Recommendation 2: Exploit Clusters
• Government should buy Clusters
– Customer (e.g., NSA or LANL)
• Is responsible for mission
• Should be responsible for cluster integration
– But
• Sub-contracting integration?
• Avoiding duplication of effort?
– Many technical problems
• Clusters are like Churchill view of democracy
• “Democracy is the worst form of government
except all the others that have been tried.”
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Recommendaton 3: Fund Academia
• (Warning: I have a bias here)
• Sustained funding of academia to develop new HPC
ideas (as we have done in the past)
– Not just Kuhnian paradigm shifts (DARPA)
– Not just “trickle down” (DOE ASCI)
– The country reaps what it sows
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Recommendation 4: Build HPC Market
• Government should encourage private HPC
customers to reduce mismatch between needs of
government and private sector
– Demonstration projects
– Personnel exchanges
– High risk but high payoff
– Unbounded potential in Biology
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Bottom Line
• Recommendations
–
–
–
–
–
Avoid directed procurement
Exploit clusters
Provide sustained funding to academia
Build the high-performance computing (HPC) market
10 issues in white paper
• Acknowledgements
– DSSG: Gould, Licato, Major, Roberts, colleagues, & mentors
– IDA or CCS: Brenner, Carlson, Draper, Feustal, Greenberg, & Mayfield
– LANL: Cerutti, Lee, Luo, McCoy, Thompson, Reynders, Wasseman,
Watson, & White
– NSA: Powers / DARPA: DSSG sponsorship & Hendler
– NSF, Compaq, IBM, Intel, & Sun: my Wisconsin research sponsorship
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Complete Recommendations (1 of 2)
• Don’t direct one or a few computer vendors to build
PVPs or MPPs (like bombers or carriers)
• Do provide money for government to buy HPC
machines (like ASCI but it’s not sufficient)
• Encourage HPC customers to take responsibility for
cluster integration
• Appealing to industry patriotism will not work
• Provide some money to computing vendors to build
better HPC machines
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Complete Recommendations (2 of 2)
• Expose industry to HPC potential (pilot projects &
personnel exchanges; consider biology)
• Expose academia to HPC potential (pilot projects &
personnel exchanges; consider biology)
• Provide sustained HPC funding to academia
• Provide HPC benchmarks to academia
• Provide some money to academia to buy HPC
machines to build better HPC machines
IDA Defense Science Study Group 11/99
Mark D. Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Exploiting Market Realities to Address National Security's