RISC2: ENABLING CROSS-CONTINENTAL HPC COLLABORATION FOR SOCIETY’S EVOLUTION
In our data-intensive world, High-Performance Computing (HPC) has become an indispensable asset in the digital transformation of our society, enabling big data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and cloud computing. It might sound niche, but in reality, it significantly impacts many aspects of our daily life! From analysing cancer genomics data to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, optimising the size of aircraft for fuel efficiency, and even helping to win the world’s largest cycling event by improving the aerodynamics of bikes!
HPC offers many opportunities, which are set to significantly increase thanks to digitised business models and innovation, leading us into the next generation of technological advancement.
THE RISC2 PROJECT
Coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, a consortium of 16 organisations from 12 countries participate in the RISC2 project. RISC2 aims to support the HPC community in Europe and in Latin America with exploring the effective and potential impact of HPC in addressing our society’s most urgent environmental and scientific challenges, thereby supporting the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The project is building a network to promote HPC research between Europe and Latin America by supporting bi-regional interaction between researchers and policymakers from the research and industrial communities that work on HPC flagship applications and HPC infrastructure deployment. By exchanging best practices and expertise during meetings, thematic workshops, schools, and other events, the project partners are not only increasing the visibility of HPC’s impact on our society but they are ultimately defining a coordinated policy and roadmap for the future.
HORIZONTAL COLLABORATION IS KEY TO DRIVING THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION FORWARD
You might be wondering: how can HPC, in practice, support the advancement of our community and pave the way for successful integration into the Exascale era?
Combining the power of HPC with the endless possibilities of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data can transform businesses and societies, bringing the innovation of green technologies to maintain (if not increase) industrial competitiveness!
More specifically, these are some of the applications of interest to the community:
Clean energy, green aviation, weather prediction, climate modelling, and digital twins
Cancer research, precision medicine, and drug design
Improved sustainability, increased emergency responsiveness, and citizen satisfaction
WHAT CHALLENGES IS THE HPC COMMUNITY FACING?
One of the most critical challenges currently faced by the global HPC community is the massive amount of energy needed to power supercomputers. With the Exascale era already on the horizon, the need for increased innovation for energy-efficient supercomputers is more urgent than ever.
Large-scale computing is a fast-changing field, where systems have a working life of five to eight years before becoming obsolete. Therefore, highly skilled personnel are needed to harness the endless possibilities of HPC technology. With the shortage of HPC specialist skills, making large-scale computing more accessible to potential users is challenging. This is because users have different requirements, from data access to customised support, which in turn creates challenges in trying to make large-scale computing more accessible to users.
Lack of awareness, shortage of the necessary expertise, or appropriate access models are just some of the barriers to a more inclusive approach to HPC technology access.
Focusing on the Latin American community, in order to increase their role in the global HPC competition, local researchers and funding agencies must bridge the gap in the research and infrastructure fields. To do so, the Latin American HPC community seeks to retain talents – often having to compete with US tech giants for staff – to address the current limitations of HPC computational resources and attract digital investments from the public and the private sectors.
RISC2 aims to help address these challenges by creating a platform for international collaboration to find innovative ways of applying HPC to the biggest and most urgent societal challenges. It fosters changes to existing policies and practices while considering the latest trends and innovations and shared interests.
GN4-3N: TOWARDS TERABIT NETWORKING FOR EUROHPC
It is clear that to reap the benefits of the data expansion that we are witnessing, there needs to be enough capacity to process this data, and this is why we need to make sustainable long-term investments in HPC.
However, if Europe wants to be at the forefront of HPC research and development worldwide, investing in computer hardware alone is not sufficient. It needs longer-term strategic planning, establishing solid and sustainable links with other regions in the world, and focusing on what interests they share and the real needs of emerging economies.
NRENs are already equipped to serve the European HPC systems that are being placed at locations connected by the local networks. With the GN4 Phase 3 Network project (GN4-3N), GÉANT and the NRENs are deploying a new generation fibre infrastructure across Europe, underpinning a move towards multi-terabit networking in Europe to support HPC sites worldwide. This next generation network is aimed at supporting the rapidly growing needs of the ever-changing landscape of Europe’s research and education community, improving digital inclusion, and addressing the requirements for high-speed interconnections between HPC systems, all with a sustainable and greener network design.
And, thanks to the 6,000 km submarine fibre-optic cable EllaLink, the BELLA project is bringing European and Latin American researchers closer together and in turn increasing the GN4-3N project’s capability to support the R&E community overseas.
THE TOP 3 HPC IN THE WORLD
Frontier system, USA
HPL score of 1.102 Exaflop/s
Fugaku system, Japan
HPL score of 442 Petaflop/s
LUMI system, Finland
HPL score of 151.9 Petaflop/s
“The HPC applications require huge amounts of data movement. High bandwidth is required for effective collaboration between Europe and Latin America on HPC. GÉANT provides this in Europe and RedCLARA in Latin America. The recently established EllaLink will improve the connectivity between the two regions. RISC2 will profit and benefit greatly from this new enhanced connection.”
WHAT DOES GÉANT OFFER?
2 Exabytes* a year is already carried at high speed and low latency.
* (That’s 2 BILLION Gigabytes!)
Federating services and architecture plus eduroam, the worldwide WiFi roaming service.
Europe-wide procurement frameworks for tailored, market leading cloud offerings.
40+ NRENs, extensive partnerships, programmes, workshops, task forces and events.
The research GÉANT enables touches almost every aspect of our lives.
Not only that, but its networking technology is shaping the internet of tomorrow.
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