Dell, NVIDIA power Ohio Supercomputer Center’s HPC Cluster Ascend

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) said it will launch Ascend, a Dell Technologies high performance computing (HPC) cluster with NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs) to support artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data and data analytics work in Fall 2022.
Dell Technologies at MWC 2017
“By establishing a cluster focused on analysis of very large datasets quickly, support for classes of AI/ML applications that can’t run on our current systems, and simulations that require the fastest GPUs, OSC will meet the needs of these clients while ensuring the prompt processing of requests for our existing clusters, Owens and Pitzer,” said Doug Johnson, associate director of OSC.

Ascend will help meet the needs of an increasing number of clients involved in research and technology innovations in the AI and machine learning fields. OSC is involved in two National Science Foundation-funded projects designed to advance AI work.

OSC is also offering the “AI Bootcamp for Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Professionals” to build expertise in AI and supportive technologies among staff at research computing facilities like OSC nationally.

“Ascend will provide resources for the ICICLE research team to explore and develop AI technologies while also giving our staff an opportunity to increase their understanding of the AI workload and best practices for support of this growing area,” said Karen Tomko, OSC director of research software applications.

The project is a collaboration between OSC and several IT vendors. Dell Technologies is designing and constructing the new system while AMD is providing CPUs and NVIDIA is supplying GPUs and InfiniBand networking.

Comprised of Dell PowerEdge servers with 48 AMD EPYC CPUs and 96 NVIDIA A100 80GB Tensor Cores GPUs supercharged by NVIDIA NVLink and interconnected by the NVIDIA Quantum 200Gb/s InfiniBand platform, Ascend triples OSC’s capacity for AI, modeling and simulation.

The new system joins OSC’s Pitzer and Owens clusters current capabilities of 5.5 petaflops, more than 14.2 petabytes of disk storage capacity and more than 14 petabytes of expandable backup storage. Ascend will add additional petaflops of performance.