Open MPI on the Biggest Supercomputer in the World

Los Alamos National Laboratory and IBM recently announced they had broken the PetaFLOP barrier with a LINPACK run on the Roadrunner supercomputer. The Open MPI community, including Sun Microsystems, was proud to have played a role in this HPC milestone. As described by Brad Benton, member of the Roadrunner team, the 1.026 PetaFLOP/s LINPACK run was achieved using an early, unmodified snapshot of Open MPI v1.3 as the messaging layer that tied together Roadrunner's 3000+ AMD-powered nodes. For more details on specific MPI tunables used, read this subsequent message from Brad and this follow-up message from Jeff Squyres, Open MPI contributor from Cisco.

About two years ago, we decided to change Sun's MPI strategy from one of continuing to develop our own proprietary implementation of MPI to instead joining a community-based effort to create a scalable, high-performance, and portable implementation of MPI. We joined the Open MPI community because we felt (and still feel) strongly that combining forces with other vendors and other organizations is the most effective path to creating the middleware infrastructure needed to support the needs of the HPC community into the future.

Sun was the 2nd commercial member to join the Open MPI effort, which at the time consisted of a small handful of research and academic organizations. Two years later, the community looks like this:


This mix of academic/research members and commercial members brings together into one community a focus on quality, stability and customer requirements on the one hand, with a passion for research and innovation on the other. Of course, it does also create some challenges as the community works to achieve an appropriate balance between these sometimes opposing forces, but the results to date have been impressive, as witnessed by the use of Open MPI to set a new LINPACK world record on the biggest supercomputer in the world.

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Josh Simons

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