Teragrid and Physics Research
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
High Performance Computing is
Transforming Physics Research
• TeraGrid ties together the high end computational
resources (supercomputing, storage, visualization,
data collections, science gateways) provided by
NSF for the nation’s researchers,
• Supported by computing and technology experts,
many who have science PhDs and speak the users’
• World-class facilities, on a much larger scale than
ever before, present major new opportunities for
physics researchers to carry out computations that
would have been infeasible just a few years ago.
Hardware must be heterogeneous
• Different capabilities
• Different vendors
• Potential for great burden on people trying to use
more than one system.
Integrated View for Users
• Single signon,
• Single application form for access (it’s free- more later)
• Single ticket system (especially useful for problems
• Coordinated user support (find experts at any site)
• Simplified data movement; (e.g. compute in one place,
analyze in another)
• Makes data sharing easy
Resources to come
• Recognize that science is being increasingly data
driven (LHC, LSST, …)
• PSC- large shared memory system
• Track2D being competed
– A data-intensive HPC system
– An experimental HPC system
– A pool of loosely coupled grid computing resources
– An experimental, high-performance grid test-bed
• Track1 System at NCSA- 10 Pflop peak, 1 Pflop
sustained on serious applications in 2011
Some Example Impacts on Physics
(not overlapping with the presentations to follow)
Lattice QCD- MILC collaboration
• Improved precision on “standard model”,
required to uncover new physics.
• Need larger lattices, lighter quarks
• Frequent algorithmic improvements
• UseTeraGrid resources at NICS, PSC,
NCSA, TACC; DOE resources at Argonne,
NERSC, specialized QCD machine at
Brookhaven, cluster at Fermilab
Store results with The International Lattice Data Grid (ILDG), an
international organization which provides standards, services, methods
and tools that facilitates the sharing and interchange of lattice QCD
gauge configurations among scientific collaborations (US, UK, Japan,
Germany, Italy, France, and Australia) .http://www.usqcd.org/ildg/
Astrophysics-Mike Norman et al UCSD
• Small (1 part in 105) spatial
inhomogeneities 380,000 years after the
Big Bang, as revealed by WMAP
Satellite data, get transformed by
gravitation into the pattern of severe
inhomogeneities (galaxies, stars, voids
etc.) that we see today.
• Uniform meshes won’t do, must zoom in
on dense regions to capture the key
physical processes- gravitation
(including dark matter), shock heating
and radiative cooling of gas. So need an
adaptive mesh refinement scheme (they
use 7 levels of mesh refinement).
The filamentary structure in this simulation in a
cube 1.5 billion light years on a side is also
seen in real life observations such as the
Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
• Need large shared memory capabilities for generating initial
conditions, (adaptive mesh refinement is very hard to load-
balance on distributed memory machines); then the largest
distributed memory machines (Ranger & Kraken) for the
simulation; shared memory again for data analysis and
visualization; and need long term archival storage for
configurations – so lots of data movement between sites.
• TeraGrid helped make major improvements in the scaling
and efficiency of the code (ENZO), and in the visualization
tools which are being stressed at these volumes.
Nanoscale Electronic Structure
(nanoHUB, Klimeck, Purdue)
• Challenge of designing microprocessors and other
devices with nanoscale components. Need quantum
mechanics for quantum dots, resonant tunneling diodes,
• Largest codes operate at the petascale (NEMO-3D,
OMEN), using 32,768 cores of Ranger, and generally use
resources at NCSA, PSC, IU,ORNL and Purdue.
• Developing modeling and simulation tools and a simple
user interface (Gateways) for non-expert users.
nanoHUB.org hosts more than 90 tools, had >6200 users,
ran>300,000 simulations, supported 44 classes, in 2008.
• Will benefit from improved metascheduling capabilities to
be implemented this year in TeraGrid because want
interactive response for the simple calculations.
• Communities develop the Gateways- TG helps interface
that to TG resources.
Aquaporins - Schulten group,UIUC
• Aquaporins are proteins which conduct large
volumes of water through cell walls while
filtering out charged particles like hydrogen
• Start with known crystal structure, simulate
12 nanoseconds of molecular dynamics of
over 100,000 atoms, using NAMD
• Water moves through aquaporin channels in
single file. Oxygen leads the way in. At the
most constricted point of channel, water
molecule flips. Protons can’t do this.
Animation pointed to by 2003 Nobel
chemistry prize announcement for
structure of aquaporins (Peter Agre)
The simulation helped explain how
the structure led to the function
Users and Usage
2008 TeraGrid Usage By Discipline
If you’re not yet a TeraGrid user and
constraining your research to fit into
your local capabilities…
• Consider TeraGrid. Getting time is easy.
• It’s free
• We’ll even help you with coding and optimization
• See www.teragrid.org/userinfo/getting_started.php?
• Don’t be constrained by what appears possible today.
Think about your problem and talk to us.
Training (also free)
March 12 - 13, 2009 Parallel Optimization and Scientific
Visualization for Ranger
March 19 - 20, 2009 OSG Grid Site Administrators Workshop
March 23 - 26, 2009 PSC/Intel Multi-core Programming and
Performance Tuning Workshop
March 24, 2009 C Programming Basics for HPC (TACC)
April 13 - 16, 2009 2009 Cray XT5 Quad-core Workshop
April 21, 2009 Fortran 90/95 Programming for HPC (TACC)
June 22 - 26, 2009 TeraGrid '09
For fuller schedule see: http://www.teragrid.org/eot/workshops.php
Campus Champions Program
• Campus advocate for TeraGrid and CI
• TeraGrid ombudsman for local users
• Training program for campus representatives
• Quick start-up accounts for campus
• TeraGrid contacts for problem resolution
• Over 31 campuses signed on, more in discussions
• We’re looking for interested campuses!
–See Laura McGinnis