The 2022 ACM Gordon Bell Prize awarded to an international team for particle-in-cell simulations on exascale-class supercomputers

The 2022 ACM Gordon Bell Prize awarded to an international team for particle-in-cell simulations on exascale-class supercomputers

Association for Computing Machines

image: ACM Gordon Bell Prize 2022 awarded to the international team for simulations of particles in cells on Exascale-class supercomputers.
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Credit: Association for Computing Machines

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has named a 16-member team from French, Japanese and American institutions as recipients of the 2022 ACM Gordon Bell Prize for their project “Pushing the Frontier in the Design of Laser-Based Electron Accelerators With Ground-breaking particle simulations in mesh-refined cells on exascale-class supercomputers.

The team members are: Luca Fedeli (Paris-Saclay University), Axel Huebl (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), France Boillod-Cerneaux (Paris-Saclay University), Thomas Clark (Paris-Saclay University), Kevin Gott (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Conrad Hillairet (Arm), Stephan Jaure (ATOS), Adrien Leblanc (Laboratory of Applied Optics, ENSTA Paris), Remi Lehe (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Andrew Myers (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Christelle Piechurski ( GENCI ) Mitsuhisa Sato (RIKEN), Neil Zaїm (Paris-Saclay University), Weiqun Zhang (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Jean-Luc Vay (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) and Henri Vincenti (Paris-Saclay University).

Particle-in-Cell (PIC) simulation is a high-performance computing technique used to model the motion of charged particles, or plasma. The PIC has applications in many fields, including nuclear fusion, accelerators, space physics and astrophysics. The very recent introduction of exascale-class computers has broadened the horizons of PIC simulations and makes this year’s winning project particularly exciting.

According to their abstract, the team presents a first refined mesh (MR) massively parallel PIC code for optimized plasma kinetic simulations on the Frontier, Fugaku, Summit and Perlmutter supercomputers. Key improvements in their PIC code over existing state-of-the-art approaches include:

  • A three-tier parallelization strategy that has demonstrated performance portability and scalability across millions of A64FX cores and tens of thousands of AMD and Nvidia GPUs
  • Breakthrough mesh refinement capability that delivers 1.5 to 4x savings on computing needs
  • An efficient load balancing strategy between multiple levels of refined mesh

The 2022 ACM Gordon Bell Prize-winning team concludes by noting that “the use of mesh refinement in large-scale PIC electromagnetic simulations is a first and represents a paradigm shift. The successful modeling with savings between 1.5× and 4× with mesh refinement that is reported in this paper is a historic stepping stone to a new era in modeling laser-plasma interactions.

The ACM Gordon Bell Prize tracks advances in parallel computing and rewards innovation in applying high-performance computing to challenges in science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics. The award was presented at the International Conference on High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analytics (SC22), held in Dallas, Texas.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, bringing together educators, researchers, and computing professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address challenges in the field. ACM strengthens the collective voice of the IT profession through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for lifelong learning, career development and professional networking.

About the ACM Gordon Bell Award
The ACM Gordon Bell Prize is awarded annually to recognize outstanding achievement in high performance computing. The purpose of this recognition is to track advancements in parallel computing over time, with particular emphasis on rewarding innovation in the application of high-performance computing to scientific applications. The award is given for leading performance as well as special achievements in scalability and time to solve important scientific and technical problems and low price/performance ratio. Financial support for the $10,000 prizes is provided by Gordon Bell, a pioneer in high performance and parallel computing.


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