Dell EMC gains high performance computing momentum and expands portfolio

Story Highlights

  • Dell EMC HPC solutions power next generation research in artificial intelligence, genomics and weather forecasting
  • Dell EMC HPC storage and compute solutions advance to address growing analysis needs of businesses, academics and extended HPC community
  • Dell EMC AI Challenge winner, the Center of Space, High-Performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) at the University of Florida, lands access to in-demand Dell EMC HPC resources

DALLAS , November 13, 2018 - 

At SC18, Dell EMC is announcing momentum in high performance computing (HPC) deployments and new portfolio expansions, designed to help accelerate time to insights in a variety of disciplines, including artificial intelligence, bioscience, weather forecasting and more. Dell EMC also announces that the University of Florida’s Center of Space, High Performance, Reconfigurable Computing (SHREC) has won the 2018 Dell EMC AI Challenge.

“Advances in IT are making HPC systems increasingly more powerful and innovative to accelerate the time necessary to reach new discoveries, but many still believe implementations can be complex,” said Thierry Pellegrino, vice president and general manager of HPC at Dell EMC. “Based on decades of experience with leading institutions, technology partners and strategic customers, Dell EMC provides an extensive portfolio of technologies that simplify HPC adoption to advance research and further democratize HPC. We remain focused on leading the way in HPC innovation and helping organizations of all types and sizes further advance expanding opportunities in artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Dell EMC fueling research for human progress

Dell EMC continues to be at the forefront of helping customers adopt the latest HPC technologies to fuel a wide range of discoveries and research. Recent customer momentum demonstrates Dell EMC’s commitment to deliver world-class HPC systems that bring together the latest advances in servers, accelerators, liquid cooling and networking:

  • Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin has selected Dell EMC to develop and deliver its new Frontera supercomputer in 2019, funded by TACC’s $60 million award from The National Science Foundation. At the time of its announcement, in August 2018, Frontera would have been the world’s fifth most powerful system, the third fastest in the U.S. and the largest at any university if completed. The Dell EMC PowerEdge system plans to combine several technical innovations such as CoolIT Systems high-density Direct Contact Liquid Cooling, high performance Mellanox HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand interconnect and next generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. Frontera’s early projects are expecting to include analysis of particle collisions from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, global climate modeling, hurricane forecasting and multi-messenger astronomy.
  • The University of Cambridge has expanded its supercomputing capabilities with its “Cumulus - UK Science Cloud.” This new OpenStack system is the UK’s largest academic supercomputer, providing more than two petaflops of performance, powered by Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, Intel® Xeon® processors and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture. To help solve the UK’s most challenging data driven, simulation and AI tasks, Cumulus is open to all UK academics and industry and delivered in partnership with Dell EMC and StackHPC, a UK start-up specialising in the convergence of HPC and Cloud. It is funded with investments totalling over £13 million from STFC (DiRAC/IRIS), EPSRC (Tier 2) and the university.
  • The University of Michigan is deploying its Great Lakes computing cluster for simulation, modeling, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, genomics and more. The new system is powered by a Dell EMC-enabled HPC infrastructure built on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers. Great Lakes is the industry’s first system to benefit from Mellanox HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking, enabling faster data transfer speeds and increased application performance.
  • The Ohio Supercomputer Center is deploying its Pitzer Cluster, delivered by Dell EMC. Like TACC’s Frontera system, the Pitzer Cluster will utilize Dell EMC PowerEdge servers with CoolIT’s modular, rack-based Direct Contact Liquid Cooling solution, which allows for increased rack densities, higher component performance potential and better energy efficiency. As a result, it will offer nearly as much performance as the center’s most powerful cluster but require less power and less than half the space. The system will power broad research areas from human genomics to the global spread of viruses.

Dell EMC eases HPC adoption with Ready Solutions advancements

Today’s HPC workloads require storage infrastructure that scales endlessly and delivers unmatched bandwidth at high concurrency for deep learning algorithms and AI initiatives. To meet these needs, Dell EMC is committed to expanding its HPC portfolio to offer a range of high performance storage options that complement its portfolio of Ready Solutions with the Dell EMC Isilon Scale-out NAS storage powered by the Isilon OneFS operating system.

The Dell EMC Ready Solution for HPC Lustre Storage and Dell EMC Ready Solution for HPC NFS Storage are now available with the new Dell EMC PowerVault ME4 storage arrays. Dell EMC built the ME4 Series with 75 percent more drives than the PowerVault MD3 to increase raw storage capacity by 122 percent, while also boosting read IOPS performance by 4X. Its modular design allows for flexible and custom designs, offering increased density, when compared to the PowerVault MD3, and the ability to scale as customers’ businesses grow.

Ideal for technical, big data applications, the Dell EMC Ready Solution for HPC Lustre Storage with the new PowerVault ME4 delivers excellent throughput per building block with on-the-fly storage expansion. As an easy-to-use and fully redundant NFS storage solution, optimized for HPC environments, the Dell EMC Ready Solution for HPC NFS Storage on ME4 Series will offer greater overall performance and a denser solution. Both solutions are accompanied by Dell EMC global services and support.

Dell EMC PowerEdge servers to support latest accelerator technology

Dell EMC PowerEdge R640, R740, R740xd and R7425 servers will support the latest GPU and FPGA accelerators to speed results in data analytics and AI applications. This includes:

  • NVIDIA® Tesla® T4, the universal AI accelerator ideal for distributed computing environments. It is packaged in an energy-efficient 70-watt, small PCIe form factor. Powering breakthrough performance, NVIDIA notes that Tesla T4 provides multiple times the performance of traditional CPUs for both training and inference.Developers can unleash the power of NVIDIA Turing architecture-based Tensor Cores directly through NVIDIA TensorRT and cuDNN software libraries and integrations with all AI frameworks.
  • From video content streaming to financial services to defense applications, FPGAs allow hardware to be programmed and re-programmed for optimization. In addition to the Intel® Arria® 10 GX FPGA support today, Dell EMC is now the first server vendor to qualify the Xilinx® Alveo™ U200 accelerator card, adding it to Dell EMC PowerEdge accelerator options. Xilinx notes, for machine learning, Alveo accelerators can increase real-time inference throughput for machine learning by 20X versus high-end CPUs alone.

Dell EMC AI Challenge winner

Dell EMC has selected a research team at the Center of Space, High-Performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) at the University of Florida as the winner of the 2018 Dell EMC AI Challenge. The AI Challenge, launched in May 2018, encouraged entrants to demonstrate practical applications of AI technology with a transformational impact on business, research or society. The winner receives 200,000 core-hours on the Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab Zenith cluster and a spotlight in Dell EMC’s booth at the SC18 conference among other promotional activities

SHREC is comprised of more than 30 industry, government and academic partners working together to solve research challenges in missions and applications that drive and can benefit from reconfigurable, high-performance and reliable computing. For the AI Challenge, the SHREC team was recognized for developing and demonstrating a heterogeneous computing (HGC) system that can support a complete workflow–data analysis and pre-processing, model training, deployment and inferencing–for machine learning and be applied to any application domain leveraging machine learning, including healthcare, business, finance, science exploration and more.

“For the AI Challenge, our team leveraged CERN OpenLab datasets to determine the performance of the HGC workflow with CPUs, GPUs and FPGAs for machine learning. The study showed performance gains of 1.45-2.22x,” said Chao Jiang, Ph.D. student leader of the team. “These early results were promising, and we are continuing to experiment with more complex 3D-image based techniques such as volumetric segmentation with 3D U-net to improve performance, as well as 3D GAN for accelerated particle-simulation.”

Dell EMC at SC18

To learn more about the Dell EMC HPC portfolio, technology partners and customers, stop by its SC18 booth #3218 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.


  • Dell EMC Ready Solution for HPC Lustre Storage on ME4 and Dell EMC Ready Solution for HPC NFS Storage on PowerVault ME4 available now.
  • Dell EMC PowerEdge R640, R740, R740xd and R7425 servers have planned support for NVIDIA® Tesla® T4 Tensor Core GPUs in the first quarter of 2019 and Xilinx® Alveo™ U200 FPGAs in December 2018.

Customer quotes

Dan Stanzione, executive director, Texas Advanced Computing Center, The University of Texas at Austin
“Frontera represents our third top 10 and fifth top 25 system we have deployed in partnership with Dell EMC. The success we have had together reflects our close collaboration and a deep relationship, with attention to every detail, that lets us repeatedly deploy at the cutting edge of technology on time and on budget. With this new machine, we will further push the frontiers of science, offering researchers an instrument with capabilities they have never had before.”

Paul Calleja, director of High Performance Computing, University of Cambridge
“Conventional HPC clustering techniques present pre-configured static resource pools which, for the most part, satisfy a limited yet important set of users. By enabling a cloud paradigm, including bare-metal, the benefits of a software-defined infrastructure encompass conventional HPC clustering, without sacrificing performance, and provide additional agility in support of modern hybrid cloud-enabled workflows. We are witnessing considerable user growth in such new workflows, and Cumulus enables our users with easier access to HPC and HPDA class computing in a secure and flexible environment. Working with Dell EMC and partners has culminated in one of the most computationally and i/o efficient resources in the UK.”

Brock Palen, director, Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS), University of Michigan
“We’re thrilled to be working with Dell EMC. Users of Great Lakes will have access to more cores, faster cores, faster memory, faster storage and a more balanced network. This new cluster will ultimately provide improved performance, flexibility, and reliability for U-M researchers."

David Hudak, Ph.D., executive director, Ohio Supercomputer Center
“We worked with Dell EMC to create the Pitzer Cluster, a highly efficient, dense and flexible petaflop-class system. This valuable new addition to our data center allows OSC to continue addressing the growing computational, storage and analysis needs of our client communities in academia, science and industry.”

James Lowey, CIO, TGen
“One of the keys to Precision Medicine is being able to analyze the human genome, find abnormalities, then target them with specific treatments. Data sets using multiple inputs are becoming so massive, we must rely on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help make sense of it all.  Dell Technologies is a critical partner as we push the science forward, and Dell EMC Isilon gives us a simple scale-out solution to manage and consume petabytes of data and to expedite genome processing from weeks to hours.  When it comes to research that saves lives, where seconds matter, we rely on Dell EMC.”

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