RISC-V and POWER support in SingularityCE

By Staff

Mar 14, 2022 | Blog, SingularityCE Updates

We’re pleased to announce that the recent SingularityCE 3.9.6 release introduces support for RISC-V 64 systems, and now works with POWER Linux distributions that are using microarchitecture optimized libraries (glibc-hwcaps). We’re proud to support running Singularity containers on these open architectures, and our ability to do so demonstrates how the open-source SingularityCE community and Sylabs long-term support commitment to SingularityPRO benefit each other.

RISC-V is an exciting new CPU architecture with an open instruction set. It’s gaining huge traction in the embedded space and small development boards for embedded applications have become easily available. However, workstation or server grade RISC-V hardware remains quite rare. We were lucky enough that a SingularityCE user, Jorge Ejarque, who had access to suitable hardware reached out on Slack regarding the modifications to SIF and SingularityCE that would be needed to support RISC-V. As a result of Adam Hughes’ work plus Jorge’s testing you can now use SingularityCE on riscv64 machines!

POWER CPUs are most likely to be found at the opposite end of the spectrum from RISC-V, in a number of the most powerful HPC systems in the TOP500 and large data center deployments. Similar to RISC-V there are open specifications and core designs, and development is coordinated by the OpenPOWER Consortium. It’s still challenging to develop and test open source projects on POWER hardware, as it’s not represented in the common CI platforms that make efficient collaborative development possible and affordable for open source projects.

Because Sylabs provides long term support for SingularityPRO on POWER systems we routinely QA the Singularity code on the ppc64le architecture. We’re committed to rolling fixes exposed in this work into SingularityCE to benefit open source users. In Singularity 3.9.6 this has resulted in support for glibc-hwcaps, which lets Linux distributions provide alternative microarchitecture optimized libraries for improved performance. This has now been employed by RHEL8 on POWER9 systems. Our work to support glibc-hwcaps for POWER9 will also benefit other users as the mechanism starts to be used to supply optimized libraries on other platforms.

Thanks again to Jorge for getting involved in the SingularityCE slack channel. Let us know if you are using, or want to use SingularityCE on other interesting systems!

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