Faster's 1st Anniversary

by Claudia Frauen, Hendryk Bockelmann, Daniel Klocke and Theresa Mieslinger

One year ago, on the 1st of September 2022, the ICON development got a boost through the lift-off of the WarmWorld Faster project. Since then, almost all positions are filled by a diverse team including 44% woman and 55% international colleagues, which is certainly our first big success considering the highly competitive job market for software engineers. The planned activities within Faster are strongly interlinked making it necessary for the various groups and institutions to meet, dicuss and collaborate frequently. And indeed, meetings such as the kick-off in Bonn, the various ICON-C meetings, as well as the PASC23 and the ISC23 conferences show a high attendance of the Faster team, which communicates and disseminates first highlights and encountered challenges to the broader community.

Some outstanding highlights shall be named in the following:

  • ICON goes open source! 🎉 The 1st of January 2024 is envisioned as the date for ICON to become open source enabling easier collaborations, contributions and a wider use of the model code.
  • The coupled ICON model runs on the JUWELS system at JSC. The setup takes advantage of the modular supercomputing architecture by running the atmospheric component on the GPUs of JUWELS Booster and the ocean component on the CPUs of JUWELS cluster.
  • Getting the current version of ICON running on the AMD GPU based EuroHPC system LUMI for the exascale demonstrator proved to be more challenging than anticipated. Some lessons learnt are surely that solutions other than Fortran and OpenACC shall be favoured in the future which underlines the need for the planned work in Faster. Nevertheless, we are close to reaching our milestone and running ICON on LUMI with first performance results presented at PASC23.
  • Another highlight of the year was certainly the ICON “Apollo”-simulation recreating the famous Blue Marble photograph with a coupled global 1.25km model run. Striking were not only the technical achievements with a throughput of about 3 simulated days per day on 900 nodes (about 1/3) of Levante, but also the visualisation of the evolution of the detailed structures of clouds and ocean currents over 3 days in NVIDIA Omniverse. Read more here.

We are happily looking forward to another three years of WarmWorld Faster at full speed and the many exciting challenges ahead of us.