Sandia Releases API for Energy Features of High-Performance Computing

November 20, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

power APITo help moderate the energy needs of increasingly power-hungry supercomputers, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have released an application programming interface (API) with the goal of standardizing measurement and control of power- and energy-relevant features for high-performance computing (HPC) systems.

The High Performance Computing – Power API specification, still open to collaborators for future development, is vendor-neutral in that it works on HPC products from any manufacturer, and has been vetted through reviews by other laboratories, universities and commercial collaborators.

“While the bulk of improvements in energy efficiency will no doubt come from hardware advances, software will play a critical role in maximizing the benefits of new hardware capabilities,” said Sandia researcher Jim Laros, who leads the specification development effort.

The specification standardizes relevant measurement and control interfaces for a comprehensive range of HPC roles. These range from the hardware level to application interfaces. For example, standardizing how a work-load manager interfaces with the HPC system will enable such features as energy-aware scheduling. This can minimize power usage during the hours in which utility companies often charge higher rates.

The first production implementation of the Power API specification will be on the Trinity supercomputer, the first of the new advanced technology platforms funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program.

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