ARM/Mellanox 2019

DiRAC’s first joint ARM Mellanox hackathon was held in September 2019 at the University of Leicester  (prior to the annual DiRAC Science Day activities). It was open to all users but targeted DiRAC groups with the greatest readiness to investigate the possibilities of Mellanox’s BlueField technology.

The 3-day event was structured as a mixture of expert presentations and user code development time. The presentations comprised 3 x 90-minute talks spread over the first day and a half, with the rest of the time set aside for the participants to work on their codes with support from the ARM and Mellanox specialists. The presentations provided an introduction to BlueField and the ARM development environment, as well as strategies for optimisation.

The hands-on development time gave participants the opportunity to discover the potential of the new Mellanox Bluefield cards, optimise their codes for the new ARM CPUs and take advantage of the ARM features and multi-CPU tools, particularly the profiler.  The event was also an opportunity to build links with other research groups and the ARM and Mellanox technical teams. The hackathon culminated in presentations of the team’s results at the DiRAC Day Conference.

6 teams attended the event, representing the AREPBOOST, ARPO-DG, DiRAxion, GRChombo, SLH, & Swift codes respectively.  The teams were supported by 3 experts from ARM, 2 experts from Mellanox, and 2 local experts from the University of Leicester. 13 Participants attended the event made up of primarily graduate students, but also post-docs and RSEs.