NCSA Accepting Grant Requests for Upcoming Delta System Launch

March 18, 2022 — NCSA continues its contribution to supercomputing innovation with the upcoming launch of Delta, a computing and data resource that balances advanced graphics processing units (GPUs) and CPU architectures shaping the future of advanced research computing. With 848 GPUs, Delta will be the highest performing GPU resource in the National Science Foundation’s portfolio when it officially launches.

NCSA Delta

The hardware was installed in December 2021 and is currently being readied for initial user testing, says Brett Bode, deputy director of the Blue Waters project office and co-PI of the Delta project. Allocation requests are accepted and will begin after the machine is deployed.

“Delta is one of the first non-Cray Shasta systems to use the HPE/Cray Slingshot interconnect. As with many new technologies, some issues had to be addressed during system installation, which extended the expected installation time. These have been resolved and NCSA personnel are now hard at work installing the user space software and testing the system in preparation for the first period of use,” says Bode.

HPE Slingshot is a high-performance network for HPE Cray supercomputers and HPE HPC clusters designed to run various simulation, modeling, AI, and analytics workloads on a single system. According to the HPE Slingshot website, cloud, AI, and IP-based applications and frameworks can run unmodified, “enabling a new class of users to move from traditional cloud-based computing to take advantage of performance, ability and scale.”

Is Delta for you?

Delta might be right for you if:

  • You must have access to the latest NVIDIA GPUs for your accelerated code.
  • You want to switch from CPU to GPU while running a CPU workload, for example if you want to scale your models.
  • You have large memory demands for a shared memory application, such as in-memory databases, etc.
  • You have a very I/O-intensive application that would benefit from an exceptionally fast flash file system.

Easy to use

When deployed, Delta will have a non-POSIX file system that presents a POSIX-like interface, allowing applications to take advantage of the benefits of modern file systems without rewriting code.

“A recent study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showed that many HPC applications do not require strong POSIX consistency semantics. Delta’s relaxed POSIX semantic file system provides immediate I/O performance gains for these applications,” says Greg Bauer, senior technical program manager for NCSA’s Science and Engineering Applications Support Group and co-PI. of the Delta project.

Research computing has evolved from GPUs used as a support for accelerated computing for special applications to GPUs used for a wide range of scenarios, including hybrid computing, machine learning, accelerated computing, visualization, and research. interactive computing with the user.

It’s time to prepare

Will you be ready to take full advantage of Delta when the system is live?

This introductory webinar to Delta shares details about Delta and how to get working search codes. The webinar is led by Tim Boerner, Senior Deputy Director at NCSA and Head of the Delta Project Office, Bode and Bauer, all co-PIs of the Delta Project.

NVIDIA training materials are also available.

Delta Allocation Reward Opportunities

NCSA will integrate Delta into the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem through the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) and will partner with the Science Gateways Community Institute to provide access to the platform for a wide range of needs.

The majority of time on Delta will be allocated by XSEDE, which will allocate 90% of Delta’s cycles to the national community of researchers and educators.

Five percent of Delta is reserved for scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is awarded semi-annually through a competitive campus award process. An additional five percent of the system is reserved for Innovation/Exploration, Diversity, Science Gateways, and Data Science purposes.

“Some of NCSA’s advanced computing systems have traditionally been reserved for Illinois researchers,” said Laura Herriott, associate director of user services at NCSA. “This was a popular feature of Project Blue Waters which we are now excited to be able to offer through Project Delta as well. Researchers can apply for an XSEDE or Delta Illinois stipend by following the procedures found on our stipends webpage. excited to bring Delta’s advanced research capabilities to the academic research community in Illinois and nationwide.

About the NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputers and advanced digital resources for the nation’s scientific enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators around the world use these resources to address research challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing many global industry giants for more than 35 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve big challenges at rapid speed and scale.


Credit: Barbara Jewett, NCSA

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