November 2006 A
High Productivity Computing Systems and the Path Towards Usable Petascale Computing
Piotr Luszczek, University of Tennessee
Jack Dongarra, University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Jeremy Kepner, MIT Lincoln Lab


The HPCC benchmark suite was initially developed for the DARPA's HPCS program 1 to provide a set of standardized hardware probes based on commonly occurring computational software kernels. The HPCS program has initiated a fundamental reassessment of how we define and measure performance, programmability, portability, robustness and, ultimately, productivity in the high-end domain. Consequently, the suite was aimed to both provide conceptual expression of the underlying computation as well as be applicable to a broad spectrum of computational science fields. Clearly, a number of compromises must have lead to the current form of the suite given such a broad scope of design requirements. HPCC was designed to approximately bound computations of high and low spatial and temporal locality (see Figure 1 which gives the conceptual design space for the HPCC component tests). In addition, because the HPCC tests consist of simple mathematical operations, this provides a unique opportunity to look at language and parallel programming model issues. As such, the benchmark is to serve both the system user and designer communities 2.

Finally, Figure 2 shows a generic memory subsystem and how each level of the hierarchy is tested by the HPCC software and what are the design goals of the future HPCS system - these are the projected target performance numbers that are to come out of the wining HPCS vendor designs.

Figure 1

Figure 1. The application areas targeted by the HPCS Program are bound by the HPCC tests in the memory access locality space.
Figure 2

Figure 2. HPCS program benchmarks and performance targets.

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Reference this article
Lusczek, P., Dongarra, J., Kepner, J. "Design and Implementation of the HPC Challenge Benchmark Suite ," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 2, Number 4A, November 2006 A. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2006/11/design-and-implementation-of-the-hpc-challenge-benchmark-suite/

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