Computing hardware and software

The USQCD Collaboration designs, constructs and operates large scale computing systems for lattice QCD calculations with support from the Department of Energy and collaborators in industry. Computers for lattice QCD can be made particularly cost-effective by taking optimal advantage of simplifying features of lattice QCD, such as regular grids, uniform and predictable communications, and relatively low memory and I/O requirements.

Community software has been developed by the USQCD Collaboration under grants from the DOE's Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) Program. This enables the development of highly efficient code for clusters and commercial supercomputers.

Clusters at Fermilab.

Clusters at JLab.

Commodity hardware for lattice QCD has been developed by a team centered at Fermilab and JLab. By selecting the most cost effective and appropriately balanced combinations of processor and network interconnect, as opposed to the products which individually had the best performance, and by taking advantage of the modest requirements for memory size and disk bandwidth, large scale clusters (below) have been constructed with better price/performance than any existing general purpose parallel computing platform.

In recent years, clusters with GPU accelerators have played an increasing role in the USQCD program. USQCD is teaming with lattice gauge theorists employed by the NVIDIA Corporation to optimize codes for these machines and for the GPU-based Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.

BlueGene/Q at the Argonne. Leadership Computing Facility.

Prototype BlueGene/Q at Brookhaven.

The Blue Gene/Q (right) was designed by IBM in collaboration with USQCD members at Columbia University and Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Columbia/BNL group designed the interface between the processor core and the level-2 cache, and the look-ahead algorithms used to prefetch data from level-2 cache and main memory, anticipating misses in the level-1 cache. The Blue Gene/Q is the descendent of a long line computers well optimized for lattice QCD by Columbia/BNL and by IBM.