Catalyst: Accelerating the Arm Ecosystem for HPC

On Monday April 16, 2018, HPE, in conjunction with Arm and SUSE, announced the “Catalyst UK” program. The program calls for establishing supercomputer deployments at three leading UK universities (Bristol, Leicester, and Edinburgh) to accelerate the growth of the burgeoning Arm HPC ecosystem and to further provide UK researchers with the production platforms to help them succeed in their advanced scientific research and in collaborating with various industry and government partners.

Catalyst UK is a complex joint program between HPE, Arm, and other partners in the HPC segment with several key aspects:

  • Deployment: Deploying of sizeable HPC clusters at three strategic UK sites, supported for multi-year period and providing access to academia and industry.
  • Adoption: Foster early adoption of Arm for HPC in UK; earliest Apollo 70 production shipments followed by end-user collaboration.
  • Collaboration: Leveraging the success of the 2017 “Project Comanche” model of customer-centric collaboration, “Catalyst UK” is based on production HPE Apollo 70 platforms with a greater focus on applications and research.
  • Applications: Porting and optimization of targeted end-user scientific applications. Arm will support, influence, and track application development via software and professional services teams.
  • Scale: Establish foundation for at scale testing and production runs, as well as collaboration on future technologies for Exascale enablement. This closes a key ecosystem gap in terms of the lack of large-scale production Arm-based HPC clusters.

Accelerating the Stack

As a key partner in the Catalyst UK endeavor, we felt it was prudent to further discuss the significance of Catalyst UK for Arm and clarify what it means in terms of our overall long-term partnership strategy. While Arm brings many advantages, and enables many strong partners in the infrastructure space, notably cloud, hyperscale, networking, and HPC, we realize that there is still much work to do in terms of software ecosystem. HPC from a segment standpoint is unique in that in brings to the table a well-defined set of software ecosystem requirements as well as many strong contributors from government and academia sites. This allows Arm the opportunity to partner with end-users to help build a proven and optimized ecosystem for HPC.

For those that follow Arm and our activities in support of HPC, you may be aware of the HPE Comanche program launched in 2017, where we are working with HPE and partners such as RedHat, SUSE, and Mellanox in conjunction with the major US labs to drive prototype engagements and bring up some of the key pieces of our software ecosystem. Leveraging that on-going work, Catalyst UK will enable suitable production HPC clusters in the UK, built and deployed at scale, to validate and optimize the various HPC SW tools and stacks as well as the overall performance of HPC applications on our partners platforms. With Catalyst UK we are doing that in real HPC customer environments at the Bristol, Edinburgh, and Leicester universities with the intent of also bringing industry collaborators and commercial ISV’s into the mix.

Partnership and collaboration continues to be Arm’s key strategy

We are always excited about the interest and collaborative support shown by researchers, scientists, and institutions throughout the world over the past several years. While the Catalyst UK deployments will act as a touchstone for additional academic and government engagements in the UK, our research organizations will continue their broad support for engagements world-wide. Arm has a long history of institutional collaboration, including the EU-funded Mont-Blanc projects which first explored the deployment of Arm-based supercomputers for real workloads in a production environment.

Furthermore, in terms of our overall engagements and our extensive partnerships around the infrastructure space, I want to iterate that Catalyst does not imply any exclusivity for future partner engagements, deployments, or activities. Arm operates in a neutral manner and fields collaborative research and business-related opportunities from hardware and software partners, as well as many different academic sites, countries, and regions throughout the world. We view Catalyst as a great next step on our way into serving and supporting the HPC market.

Further Reading