odynews (Q1 2022)

Air Quality Modeling is now available at AWS and Azure

The latest versions of CMAQ, WRF-CMAQ and CAMx are now available on images from the AWS and Azure Marketplaces. These apps come precompiled and optimized for different processors and architectures (x86_64 and AArch64). The images are available to any organization or person with valid AWS or Azure accounts. CMAQ includes the ISAM and DDM3D models in addition to the standard compilation. The images also incorporate several pre and postprocessing tools such as NCL, SMOKE, IDV or VERDI among others.
We have performed several benchmarks with the images to evaluate performance with different public cloud hardware. For CMAQ, the first benchmark is the standard U.S. Southeast (2016) benchmark with a domain size of 100x80x35 and 218 tracked species. The figure shows wall (computational) times from the benchmark versus the number of cores for different AWS/Azure options and the EPA cluster.

The results with the new AMD EPYC3 processor (codenamed “Milan”) are particularly impressive as wall times are below 200 s for single instances.

Updated WRF benchmarks

One of the great things about working with public CSPs is that they continue bringing the latest hardware options from different manufacturers to the benefit of all of us. We continue evaluating the performance of several HPC apps with the latest hardware so that our customers can make informed decisions. Our updated round of WRF benchmarks include measurements with Intel Ice Lake and AMD EPYC3 (Milan) processors from AWS and Azure.
The figure reflects overall WRF performance on computing and high-performance-computing instances from AWS and Azure.

AWS introduced Graviton3 at re:Invent 2021

During the course of re:Invent (2021) in Las Vegas, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky announced the future availability of AWS’s new Graviton3 processor. This announcement came two years after the launch of Graviton2 and in the middle of the battle for server processor supremacy traditionally dominated by the x86_64 architecture. Graviton3 is based on an AArch64 (arm) architecture and will power the first family of 7th generation EC2 instances. The new processor promises to boost almost every aspect of performance versus Graviton2, and to position itself as the strongest competitor to the new AMD and Intel server processors, particularly as a more economical option.
As usual AWS has been tight-lipped discussing this project and there is only so much that we know about the new processor. In a similar fashion to Graviton2, it has been developed by Annapurna Labs using 5 nm technology and comes in a single socket with 64 cores running at 2.6 GHz, which means a very slight increase versus Graviton2 (2.5 GHz). For HPC apps, critical upgrades include doubling the capacity of double-precision operations per cycle, using PCI-Express 5.0, and being the first processor to include DDR5 memory, which has about 50 percent more bandwidth than the DDR4 memory commonly used by the older generation of server processors. Other technical enhancements seem to be the upgrade to ARMv8.5 ISA and doubling the L3 cache. An initial quantification estimates a performance improvement close to 60% in double-precision operations, which bodes well for HPC apps.
At the time of this newsletter, AWS still has not communicated us our preview window, but we will provide an update as soon as we have tested the new instances.