Accelerating Spectroscopic Data Processing Using Python and GPUs on NERSC Supercomputers


The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will create the most detailed 3D map of the Universe to date by measuring redshifts in light spectra of over 30 million galaxies. The extraction of 1D spectra from 2D spectrograph traces in the instrument output is one of the main computational bottlenecks of DESI data processing pipeline, which is predominantly implemented in Python. The new Perlmutter supercomputer system at the National Energy Scientific Research and Computing Center (NERSC) will feature over 6,000 NVIDIA A100 GPUs across 1,500 nodes. The new heterogenous CPU-GPU computing capability at NERSC opens the door for improved performance for science applications that are able to leverage the high-throughput computation enabled by GPUs. We have ported the DESI spectral extraction code to run on GPU devices to achieve a 20x improvement in per-node throughput compared to the current state of the art on the CPU-only Haswell partition of the Cori supercomputer system at NERSC.