Early Samples of LANL’s Crossroads Supercomputer Processor in Test Mode Now

Feb. 10, 2022 — In preparation for delivery and deployment of Crossroads, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s next supercomputer built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a few sample nodes of the new CPU architecture have been delivered for testing by ASC Integrated Code teams.

Four boxes containing computing hardware arrived at the dock of the Advanced Co-Design Laboratory on Jan. 13.

This early version of Intel’s Sapphire Rapids processor allows code developers to test application performance and give feedback to Intel engineers prior to the production release of the CPU chip. This version of the Sapphire Rapids processor is configured with traditional double data memory (DR), and it will be traveling in the first phase of Crossroads this summer. The next version of the processor with advanced memory technology will be in the final installation of the Crossroads system which is slated for delivery in 2023.

A Peek Inside the Box

Four boxes containing computing hardware arrived at the dock of the Advanced Co-Design Laboratory on Jan. 13. David Rich received the equipment and installed it in the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program testbed system, Darwin. Darwin comprises an aggregation of early access hardware from various companies that allows the code teams to start compiling and testing their code on a variety of computer architectures for analysis purposes.

Inside the hardware case of these early test nodes (photo above) is a dual-socket node (white rectangles) flanked by eight DDR memory DIMMs (cards in slots beside nodes). Buried underneath each heat sink is a socket containing 56 compute cores. These nodes are air cooled, but the nodes in Crossroads will be direct liquid cooled (photo below).

Fitting the Pieces Together

The initial phase of Crossroads will contain Sapphire Rapids nodes with DDR memory, while the final phase equipment will use an advanced memory technology called High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). Crossroads will be one of the first systems to deploy CPUs with embedded HBM.

“This equipment is a precursor to the final chip design,” said Jim Luján, Crossroads project director for High Performance Computing (HPC) division. “This test hardware gives us insight into some of the unique characteristics of the Sapphire Rapids processor, and it provides the opportunity for Lab developers to get a head start on how best to optimize applications for this new architecture along with providing Intel feedback on any final tweaks to their design.”

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the US nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory

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