Imec, ExaScience Lab, Belgium

Description of organizationimec logo zwart 512

Imec vzw was founded in 1984 by the Flemish Government and is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Currently, it is Europe's leading independent research centre for the development and licensing of microelectronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Imec vzw is internationally recognized as a centre of excellence, which is illustrated by the large number of scientific papers that are published every year, the numerous patent applications that have been submitted, and by the number of its spinoff companies. IMEC vzw's annual budget is more than 100 million Euros and it employs more than 1000 people. Its core mission is to conduct scientific research 3 to 10 years ahead of industrial needs. The research activities concentrate on design of integrated information and communication systems; silicon process technology; silicon technology and device integration; micro-systems, components and packaging; and hardware-software co-development.logoexascience 286x135


The ExaScience Lab – hosted at Imec – develops software for future High Performance Computing. This software will run on next generation - exascale - computer systems, delivering 1,000 times the performance of today's fastest supercomputers. The Flanders ExaScience Lab brings together all Flemish universities – University of Antwerp, Ghent University, Hasselt University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel – along with imec and world-leading semiconductor company Intel in a unique research collaboration.


Previous experience

The ExaScience Lab brings together experience for multiple research fields into a unique multi disciplinary team. It incorporates researchers with expertise from multiple fields: hardware design, hardware simulation, programming language design, massive parallel software development, parallel numerical solver algorithms and particle simulations.


The team has an extensive experience in coupled particle and mesh methods for electromagnetic and kinetic equations on regular grids. It also worked on new preconditioned techniques to solve the linear system that appear in this type of problems based on coarse macroscopic model. It collaborated at initializing the kinetic models given the lowest moments of the particle distribution and construction hybrid particle/mesh simulations that replace the kinetic equations with a more efficient PDE in regions of space where this is justified. The team also has many years of experience with the development and analysis of numerical solution methods for PDE models, including preconditioned Krylov methods, multigrid and time integration methods for various types of scientific and technical applications. These solvers have been applied to important scientific problems. For example, these solvers were used to solve, for the first time, double ionization in molecules and appeared in Science and the code runs on supercomputers in Barcelona and NERSC in Berkeley. The team has also contributed to FT-MPI.


Through its partnerships, the ExaScience Lab has experience in the design and implementation of programming languages and their runtime environments for modern programming techniques, including object-oriented, aspect-oriented, declarative and concurrent programming. With regard to parallel programming, members of the lab have investigated topics like actor-based message-passing models, futures, coordination languages, tuple spaces, publish/subscribe models, software transactional memory, Fork/Join, dynamic parallelization, data parallelism and stream programming in depth.


The Imec members in the lab have a long standing experience in activities related to embedded software optimizations, advanced computer architecture design and technology aware design in collaboration with a number of international research groups and companies. One of the major outcome of this research is ADRES (Architecture for Dynamically Reconfigurable Embedded System,) flexible architecture template that consists of a tightly coupled VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) processor and a coarse-grained reconfigurable array. This research focused on the parallelization of code with a tight coupling with the hardware to enable very fast execution times while reducing the overall power consumption. While this research was - mainly - targeted towards battery power embedded systems, the main part of this research is highly relevant in the context of this project. E.g. the CleanC developments, the runtime hardware-software runtime optimization and the MPSoC software tools are almost directly re-usable within this context.


Profile of staff members

Wilfried Verachtert joined Imec in 2005 as head of the MultiMedia group and – shortly after – also the Digital Design Technology group. He heads the ExaScience Lab – part of the Intel Labs Europe. Prof. Roel Wuyts is principal scientist at Imec, member of the Intel ExaScience Lab and part-time professor in the Distrinet group at the KULeuven. His main research is in the runtime management layer for future high-performance computing hardware. Prof. Wim Vanroose is - since 2006 - a Faculty member of the department of Mathematics and Computers Science at the University of Antwerp. After his PhD in 2001 in computational physics in he has spent three years as a computational scientist at the Computing Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab where developed solvers for physics simulations that run on the NERSC supercomputers. Between 2004 and 2006 he worked on numerical multiscale methods for kinetic models at the K.U.Leuven. He currently leads research in PDE solvers for complex systems in various areas of science. Prof. Lieven Eeckhout is an Associate Professor at Ghent University, Belgium. His main research interests include computer architecture and the hardware/software interface in general, and performance modeling and analysis, simulation methodology, and workload characterization in particular. He received two IEEE Micro Top Picks Awards in 2007 and 2010 for "most significant research publications of the year in computer architecture", and he recently wrote a synthesis lecture on "Computer Architecture Performance Evaluation Methods". In 2010, he was honored as a Laureate of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, and he was awarded a prestigious Independent Starting Researcher grant from the European Research Council (ERC).




ExaScience Lab, Intel Labs Europe



Six recent publications relevant to the project

1) Hiding global communication latency in the GMRES algorithm on massively parallel machines. Pieter Ghysels, Tom Ashby, Karl Meerbergen, Wim Vanroose. Submitted to SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (SISC)


2) Exploring the Level of Abstraction for Scalable and Accurate Parallel Multi-Core Simulation. Trevor E. Carlson, Wim Heirman, Lieven Eeckhout. In International Conference for High Performance Computing (SC'11), Networking, Storage and Analysis, 2011


3) Reactive Rebalancing for Scientific Simulations running on ExaScale High Performance Computers. Roel Wuyts, Karl Meerbergen, Pascal Costanza. In Parallel Computing (Parco2011), 2011


4) Implementation of a 2D Electrostatic Particle in Cell algorithm in Unified Parallel C with dynamic load-balancing. Bart Verleye, Pierre Henri, Roel Wuyts, Giovanni Lapenta, Karl Meerbergen. In Parallel Computational Fluid Dynamics, 2011


5) Improving the Data Locality of Work Stealing - A Domain-specific Approach. Pascal Costanza, Bruno De Fraine, Tom Van Cutsem. In SPLASH 2010 Workshop on Concurrency for the Application Programmer, Reno, Nevada, USA, October 18, 2010


6) Embedded Multiprocessor Systems-on-Chip Programming. Jean-Yves Mignolet and Roel Wuyts. In IEEE Software, Volume 26, IEEE, pp. 34--41, 2009