IT Center Blog

Award received – SPEC Contributor Award

March 7th, 2022 | by
Image of the red award.

SPEC Contributor Award of Sandra Wienke.
Source: Own illustration

The SPEC activities of the RWTH

In October 2021, the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) released the new SPEChpc™ 2021 (application-oriented) benchmark suites. SPEC was formed in 1988 to establish industry standards for measuring computer performance. Since then, SPEC has become the largest and most influential benchmark consortium in the world.

The SPEC High Performance Group (HPG) develops benchmarks that represent actual HPC applications for scientific and technical computing. These include: SPEC OMP® 2012 Benchmark Suite, SPEC® MPI 2007 Benchmark Suite, SPEC ACCEL® Benchmark Suite, and SPEChpc 2021 Benchmark Suites.

The benchmark suites are unique in the industry in that they support many programming models and are based on real-world applications. The SPEChpc™ 2021 Benchmark Suites target heterogeneous multi-node systems with multiple levels of parallelism, such as in today’s or tomorrow’s CPU or GPU clusters. These levels of parallelism are addressed with “MPI+X”, where “X” is supported by OpenMP on the host, OpenACC or OpenMP offloading.

Benchmark suites play an important role in large-scale data center hardware selection and vendor software infrastructure development, testing, and evaluation. In order to evaluate HPC systems of different sizes, SPEChpc™ 2021 includes four suites that provide datasets from “tiny” to “large”.

At RWTH Aachen University, for example, the SPEC benchmarks are already used for the procurement of large HPC systems as well as for software research and development.

Overview of the SPEC activities of the RWTH in tabular form

Poster with Aachen’s SPEC activities
Source: Own illustration

RWTH Aachen University @ SPEC HPG

RWTH Aachen University has been a member of SPEC since 2013. As part of the HPG, employees of the IT Center’s HPC group actively participated in the publication of the SPEChpc™ 2021 benchmark suites and performed respective performance measurements on CLAIX, which are made available on the SPEC website.

By using the suites, colleagues have found through regression testing on larger jobs (50 nodes or more) for CLAIX-2018 that for certain HPC applications (with heavy use of MPI collectives) it does not always make sense to fully utilize the nodes by using one MPI rank per core. Here they were able to illustrate that it is better to start fewer processes per node so that the impact of system noise can have less of an impact on load balancing and thus performance.

SPEC Contributor Award

As part of this collaboration, our collaborator Sandra Wienke, our HiWi Severin Schüller and our former colleague Bo Wang received the SPEC Contributor Award 2022. This award is given to individuals or teams who have contributed significantly to the success of the benchmark suites. Our former HiWi Jonas Hahnfeld also contributed to the success.


SPEChpc 2021 Benchmark Suites use

Non-commercial (qualified) organizations can download and use the SPEChpc™ 2021 Benchmark Suites for free. At RWTH Aachen University, the IT Center provides the license free of charge for RWTH employees.

For commercial use, the SPEChpc™ 2021 Benchmark Suites can be purchased on the SPEC site.

For more information, see the official press release or the SPEC web pages.

Responsible for the content of this article are Sandra Wienke and Janin Vreydal.

(*) The image was replaced on 28.04.2022.

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