Hosting the DiRAC Hackathon

26 June 2024

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We welcomed a select group of six cutting-edge projects from the DiRAC HPC userbase to our offices in Edinburgh for a three-day Hackathon. These projects were spread across a wide variety of fields from medical imaging, to detecting seismic activity on Mars, to the simulation of evolution and more. Yet they all shared one common goal – to make their workloads more efficient by offloading compute intensive work to specialized hardware with portable, single-source code. SYCL and the oneAPI libraries such as oneMKL are perfectly suited to meet these requirements, allowing teams such as these to innovate more easily and quickly with portable code that can run across different hardware from source.

For the duration of the Hackathon, the teams and support staff were given early access to Dawn, the fastest AI supercomputer in the UK. This opportunity allowed for some great progress to be made by teams, each having access to a node with 4 Intel(R) Data Center GPU Max 1550 GPUs. For the duration of the three days, some key aims for teams were to get their code ported to SYCL and to perform a basic work offload to the Intel GPUs with Dawn.

Codeplay staff and DiRAC RSEs provided support throughout the event, and their expertise enabled teams to make significant progress. Across the teams, we had a variety of projects receiving help with tasks such as adding SYCL support to CUDA codes, parallelizing FORTRAN code on Intel GPUs, and writing new C++ code that could be easily ported to SYCL to parallelize simulations. Our technical support also offered suggestions on algorithmic approaches, optimal data access patterns for GPU hardware, and shared their experience with oneAPI tooling – they were also to able to leverage our knowledge of the available hardware on Dawn, supporting the teams to target and optimize for the Intel GPUs throughout the hackathon.

We’re looking forward to seeing how these teams carry forward their work with open standards, and this Hackathon has been a great example of how modern science benefits heterogeneous, open programming with oneAPI and SYCL.

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Codeplay Software Ltd has published this article only as an opinion piece. Although every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this post is accurate and reliable, Codeplay cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy, validity or completeness of this information. The information contained within this blog is provided "as is" without any representations or warranties, expressed or implied. Codeplay Sofware Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information in this post.
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Max Brunton

Senior Marketing Manager