POP partner profile: The HPC Group at RWTH Aachen

Monday, February 15, 2016

As a central facility of the RWTH Aachen University the IT Centre offers resources and services to all institutes, members and students of the university. This includes the operation of RWTH Aachen’s HPC cluster and support for users from Aachen and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Performing these service activities is part of the daily business of the HPC group at the IT Centre, a group of about 15 people. As part of the service activities, the HPC group has run user training for more than 15 years in the area of parallel programming and performance optimisation. These training courses are not only given in Aachen, but all around the world, including tutorial sessions at international conferences like SC and ICS. Furthermore, the HPC group has optimised numerous HPC applications in collaboration with institutes of the university to guarantee efficient use of the HPC resources. To be able to perform performance optimisation in all areas, members of the HPC group are well trained in the use of performance tools, either open source tools like Scalasca or commercial tools, e.g. from Intel or Oracle.

Besides these services, the HPC group performs research in different areas. One focus is shared-memory parallelisation, particularly OpenMP, with a focus on large shared memory systems. The group actively contributes to the OpenMP specification as a member of the OpenMP architecture review board. A further research focus is the area of correctness checking in parallel applications and the development of the MUST correctness checker. MUST performs analysis of parallel applications for typical MPI programming errors, like deadlocks, and an extension for hybrid MPI/OpenMP programs is under active development. In the area of performance analysis, the HPC group participated in three projects to develop and improve the performance measurement infrastructure Score-P. A focus here was to ensure that Score-P is well suited for OpenMP and hybrid MPI/OpenMP applications.