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What's new with the High-Performance Group?

Jean Suplick
Bob Kuhn
Kuck & Associates

Published July, 1996; see disclaimer.

What's new with the SPEC High Performance Group you ask? After much hard work, the SPECchem96 and SPECseis96 benchmarks have been formally adopted, and the first results are now being submitted. Here is a quick refresher on these two benchmarks....

SPECchem96 includes a recent version of Prof. Mike Schmidt's GAMESS, which is used for ab initio computational chemistry. The 122,000 lines of source code embody a wide range of quantum chemistry computations.

The parallel version of GAMESS uses message-passing to run on multiprocessor computers. Four different problem sizes can be analyzed, ranging from workstation size to truly super-computer-size loads. The goal of the benchmark is to evaluate high-performance computers with an application directly relevant to chemists.

SPECseis96, the seismic application developed at ARCO, reflects the computational work of seismic processing traditionally performed within the oil and gas industries. This benchmark has also been used as an indicator of performance for certain medical imaging applications.

The major algorithms used in the SPECseis96 benchmark include finite difference compensation and Fourier transforms. The benchmark exercises a system's I/O capacity with trace files that are quite large, up to 100 GB for the extra-large problem size. Like GAMESS, the parallel version of SPECseis96 is implemented with message passing using PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine).

HPG continues toward its goal of adopting industrially significant codes for the SPEChpc96 suite. Candidates currently being examined include AES, an ocean modeling code; LANS3D and COMPACT, computational fluid dynamics applications; PMD, molecular dynamics simulation; and WARP3D and DYNA3D, materials/mechanical engineering codes.

Work has begun to add shared-address-space parallel versions of benchmarks applications with the goal of addressing the programming model commonly used on SMP (symmetric multi-processor) systems now offered by many hardware vendors. Looking further forward, in collaboration with such industrial groups as Autobench (a consortium made up of the "big three" U.S. automotive manufacturers: Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors), HPG is exploring new benchmark possibilities based on proprietary applications that will take us into the 21st century.

Finally, but not least important, thanks are in order to all the members of the High Performance Group for their continued hard work and contributions to the growth and development of SPEC hpc96.