The Future technology platform (FTP) is a service that offers a test platform for researchers and developers to work with advanced and prototype architectures. It enables both users and vendors to equally profit from the GWDG as a neutral intermediary. The high performance computing (HPC) architectures employed in the FTP are manifold and include GPU (Graphics processing units) and DPU systems as well as different architectures like ARM and RISC-V. Many can be easily employed because compilers are readily available. Others require specialized code which can be developed and tested without the need to buy these systems outright or apply for test access at a vendor.

Additionally, the GWDG already has a vast array of systems and therefore sophisticated power and cooling infrastructure. Adding a system is as easy as storing it in a rack and connecting it to the support infrastructure. Login services, Schedulers, and a file systems are already present and can simply be connected.

This does not mean that the systems will interfere with the production system. The units employed as part of the FTP service are housed in a different rack and are not connected to the same queue system. This reduces unintended impact on the full systems. Connecting it back to the full systems is still possible and easily done if a use case requires it.

Systems available

Benefits for vendors

Vendors of systems can get access to a vast amount of users without utilizing their own infrastructure. Especially the power and cooling requirements of such systems make it generally unfeasible to be run locally. The GWDG already has a sophisticated cooling system which can be easily expanded for new systems. Also, the infrastructure available employs measurement and monitoring techniques which make calculating figures like operations per watt possible. Especially, in light of rising energy demands of HPC systems, developing hardware with higher efficiency is key. But efficiency needs to be calculated for a specific use case which requires users with a vast amount of different problems to solve.

Therefore, the GWDG offers a range of customers from research and development who are willing and able to test new systems. Especially in research it is beneficial to test new hardware for improved performance and faster calculations. More often than not it is better to invest time in a specialized code for a specific hardware than utilizing universal packages which might not even be optimized. Users require access to these systems to actually test and many would like to work with a company that they already know instead of applying for test access to a vendor.

Benefits for users

The users of the GWDG can freely use these new systems and explore their use cases. Available software is kept very similarly to the SCC and NHR systems, allowing users to quickly switch between regular CPU clusters and the prototype systems.

Additionally, the software stack can be quickly changed if a full systems should be tested on a new operating system or completely different batch system. This can be beneficial if kernel based optimizations are required or simply possible. After the test, the system can be switched back.

GWDG as a validation provider

Since the GWDG acts as a neutral intermediary it is possible to validate systems without users giving direct feedback to the vendors. This allows for a less biased evaluation since users report to a neutral body which they already know and trust. Similarly, the vendor receives evaluations and performance measurements that are not tampered with and are assured to be to a specific standard by a capable and competent service provider.

The above-mentioned performance figures can be automatically collected and combined with user feedback. Especially, the diverse users base enhances the statistics of these measures and allows for highly differentiated conclusions.

Contact

You can contact us via support@gwdg.de and use FTP in the subject. We are happy to answer your questions and discuss with you about your requirements.