Sandia Releases API to Manage Energy Usage in HPC Environments

Sandia National Laboratories, a government contractor that works to solve national security issues with science and technology, has released the Power API. The Power API aims to standardize measurement and control of energy in high-performance computing (HPC) systems. The vendor-neutral API works with any manufacturer and has been tested by laboratories, universities and commercial partners.

"While the bulk of improvements in energy efficiency will no doubt come from hardware advances, software will play a critical role in maximizing the benefits of new hardware capabilities," Sandia specification development lead researcher Jim Laros said. "Because future architectures might not be able to operate all components at full capability for a variety of reasons, including temperature considerations or power delivery limitations, our specification defines standard interfaces to facilitate appropriate choices in allocating the available power budget among many, sometimes conflicting and often site-specific, considerations."

Laros and his team developed the API to standardize and control a large range of HPC roles, from hardware to application interfaces. The API offers a new level of awareness by which systems can automatically monitor and conserve energy. For example, systems can limit energy consumption at times when utilities charge higher rates and better schedule workloads. 

Sandia developed the Power API after a study performed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Sandia spent around a decade researching and developing the specification. The specification was reviewed by a panel of collaborators in July. The panel included representatives from Cray Inc., Adaptive Computing, Penguin Computing, AMD Inc., IBM, Intel Corp., NREL, the University of New Mexico, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos national laboratories and the Energy Efficient High Performance Computing working group. To learn more, visit the API docs.

Be sure to read the next Energy article: U.S. Energy Information Agency Enhances APIs Accessiblility


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