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San Diego Supercomputer Center, Core Scientific Form New Partnership

Core Scientific Plexus™ software extends the reach of SDSC’s "Expanse" supercomputer

Published April 29, 2021

San Diego Supercomputer Center's NSF-funded Expanse, located at UC San Diego.  Photo by Owen Stanley, SDSC/UC San Diego

By Cynthia Dillon, SDSC Communications

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), a leader in advanced computation and data analytics located at UC San Diego, is growing its industrial engagement through a new partnership with Core Scientific—a leading infrastructure and software solutions provider for artificial intelligence and blockchain led by Chief Executive Officer Kevin Turner, former Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft. 

SDSC and Core Scientific have partnered to integrate the Core Scientific Plexus™ AI software stack with the Expanse petascale supercomputer, launched by SDSC late last year with major support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

A key innovation of Expanse is its ability to support composable systems, which can be described as the integration of computing elements such as a combination of central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU) and other resources into scientific workflows that may include data acquisition and processing, machine learning and traditional simulation. While the main Expanse system is funded by the NSF, SDSC recently installed additional capacity to support industrial workloads.

Exposing SDSC’s Expanse supercomputer platform via Core Scientific’s Plexus software stack provides users with a consumption-based high-performance computing (HPC) model that not only solves for on-premise infrastructure, but also has the ability to run HPC workloads in supercomputer centers as well as in any of the four major public cloud providers—all from a single pane of glass.

“We are excited to make the power of the Expanse supercomputer available to industry researchers and other customers who need state-of-the-art supercomputer capabilities,” said Ron Hawkins, SDSC director of industry relations. “Core Scientific’s Plexus software stack provides end-customers access to our infrastructure in an intuitive, cloud-like point-and-click experience, which is a potential game changer for supercomputer centers.”

Expanse, which entered service in December 2020, consists of nearly 800 AMD EPYC (Rome) based compute nodes with a 12-petabyte parallel file system and Mellanox InfiniBand HDR interconnect, with more than 100,000 cores available to the most demanding HPC workloads.

“SDSC’s Expanse is a unique and innovative supercomputer that supports a wide range of scientific workloads,” said Core Scientific Chief Product Officer of Artificial Intelligence Ian Ferreira. “Being able to democratize this infrastructure via our Plexus software stack will enable researchers and scientists to seamlessly work between CPU and GPU bound class of problems, all via a single, easy-to-use interface.”

About San Diego Supercomputer Center

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego is considered a leader in advanced computation and all aspects of “Big Data,” which includes data integration and storage, performance modeling, data mining and predictive analytics, software development and more. SDSC provides resources, services and expertise to the national research community including academia, industry and government. SDSC supports hundreds of multidisciplinary programs spanning a wide variety of domains, from astrophysics and bioinformatics to environmental sciences and health IT.