Exploring hardware overprovisioning in power-constrained, high performance computing

Tapasya Patki, David K. Lowenthal, Barry Rountree, Martin Schulz, Bronis R. De Supinski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

114 Scopus citations


Most recent research in power-aware supercomputing has focused on making individual nodes more efficient and measuring the results in terms of flops per watt. While this work is vital in order to reach exascale computing at 20 megawatts, there has been a dearth of work that explores efficiency at the whole system level. Traditional approaches in supercomputer design use worst-case power provisioning: the total power allocated to the system is determined by the maximum power draw possible per node. In a world where power is plentiful and nodes are scarce, this solution is optimal. However, as power becomes the limiting factor in supercomputer design, worst-case provisioning becomes a drag on performance. In this paper we demonstrate how a policy of overprovisioning hardware with respect to power combined with intelligent, hardware-enforced power bounds consistently leads to greater performance across a range of standard benchmarks. In particular, leveraging overprovisioning requires that applications use effective configurations; the best configuration depends on application scalability and memory contention. We show that using overprovisioning leads to an average speedup of more than 50% over worst-case provisioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICS 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Supercomputing
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2013
Event27th ACM International Conference on Supercomputing, ICS 2013 - Eugene, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2013Jun 14 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Supercomputing


Other27th ACM International Conference on Supercomputing, ICS 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityEugene, OR


  • high-performance computing
  • overprovisioned
  • power
  • rapl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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