[gmx-developers] Gromacs in DEEP-EST project
peicho.petkov at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 12:02:08 CET 2019
Dear Gromacs developers,
NCSA-Bulgaria aims at optimising Gromacs for Modular Supercomputing
Architecture as a participant in the DEEP-EST project. Some of you may
remember my presentation at Gromacs Workshop 2018 in Goettingen, but let me
illustrate the essence again. We plan to run simulations on two modules
namely in Booster-Cluster configuration, where the Booster is
high-performance scalable parallel computing system (based on MIC, GPU or
another type of accelerators) and the Cluster module - a Linux cluster
based on relatively high-performance CPU cores. Both modules’
intraconnecting networks to be chosen in such a way to ensure good
performance scalability, while module interconnecting network might be a
As you know and I’ve already discussed on the Goettingen workshop with some
of you, the performance of the module interconnection network is of crucial
importance. While the hardware people in DEEP-EST project are working on
the module interconnecting design, we decided to try optimising PP-PME
communications. We started developing asynchronous PME electrostatic
algorithm. The rough idea is to use multiple-timesteplike approach in such
a way that the PME nodes’ performance and communication between PP nodes
and PME nodes become less limiting the overall application performance.
Even the cluster-booster configuration fails in the future such an
algorithm might be of interest (basically but not only) of users who run
relatively big and huge parallel simulations on quite a significant number
of computing nodes. For instance, such simulations will be less sensitive
to the PP to PME nodes number ratio and the interconnecting network
The main point is to organise communications in the way shown in fig. 1
(see the attached plot) particularly and only in parallel simulations with
PME dedicated ranks. The price to be paid is allocating additional memory,
do some more calculations and a bit lower but controllable accuracy of
electrostatic interactions treatment. We decided to separate electrostatic
interaction in two parts fast and slow changing ones as described in [J.
Chem. Phys., Vol. 115, No. 5, 1 August 2001] and [J. Chem. Phys., Vol. 116,
No. 14, 8 April 2002]. We consider modifying Verlet cutoff scheme only. To
do so, we need to add a force and energy calculating kernel which calculate
pure cut-off electrostatic interactions with switch function mentioned in
[J. Chem. Phys., Vol. 116, No. 14, 8 April 2002] and fast-changing real
space terms of PME forces calculated in a separate output buffer. Then we
estimate fast-changing real space terms of PME forces for each atom and
save them in a buffer to be subtracted from the corresponding forces and
energies received from PME nodes in the next time step. The latter is
because the forces and energies calculated in the reciprocal space have a
small but non-negligible, rapidly changing component (as discussed in [J.
Chem. Phys., Vol. 115, No. 5, 1 August 2001]).
More than a month ago we took a snapshot of the gromacs source code and
started developing a proof of concept implementation of reference kernels
and added necessary buffers and flags to test the idea, having in mind that
all of the building blocks needed for the implementation of the algorithm
are already developed in the source. As a result, we almost double the
number of operations for calculating non-bonded interactions. The latter
was done with the clear understanding that it was not the optimal way, but
we wanted to make as fewer changes in the Gromacs source code as possible.
We still have not implemented any switch function, and there is energy
drift as expected. Currently, we are going to develop one reference kernel
with additional arguments which will take pointers to force and energy
buffers needed for slow changing force component calculations.
With this letter, we would like to inform you of our activities, and if you
consider that implementation mentioned above could be of interest of
Gromacs user community, we will be happy to start working on it with your
help. Otherwise, we will appreciate your helpful comments.
Peicho, Valentin and Stoyan Markov.
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