Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sandia supercomputer to be world’s fastest, yet smaller and less expensive than any competitor

28.07.2004


Red Storm to be assembled in New Mexico

Red Storm will be faster, yet smaller and less expensive, than previous supercomputers, say researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories, where the machine will be assembled.
The first quarter of the $90 million, 41.5 teraflops (trillion operations/second) machine should be installed at Sandia by the end of September and fully up and running by January, says Bill Camp (Sandia’s Director of Computation, Computers, Information and Mathematics), who heads the effort to design and assemble the innovative machine.


Performance testing will begin in early 2005. By the end of 2005, the machine should be capable of 100 teraflops, after each single-processor chip is replaced with a new chip that contains two independent processors, each running 25 percent faster than the original chip.

Japan’s Earth Simulator, currently the world’s fastest supercomputer, has a peak eight megawatts of power compared to Red Storm’s projected two megawatts and takes up approximately three times the space.

Red Storm, an air-cooled supercomputer, is being developed by Sandia and Cray Inc. using mostly off-the-shelf parts.

Design innovations permit the machine, from concept to assembly, to be completed with unusual rapidity. While manufacturers typically require four to seven years from concept to first product on a new supercomputer, Cray says Red Storm will begin testing at Sandia less than 30 months after conceptual work began.

The main purpose of the machine is work for the U.S. nuclear stockpile: designing new components; virtually testing components under hostile, abnormal, and normal conditions; and helping in weapons engineering and weapons physics. The machine is expected to run ten times as fast as Sandia’s ASCI Red computer system on Sandia’s important application codes. (ASCI Red held first place on the top-500 list of the world’s supercomputers for three-and-one-half consecutive years.)

But the machine, because of its uniquely inexpensive design, may become the center of Cray’s future supercomputer line, says Camp. "From Cray’s point of view, the approach we’re pioneering here is so powerful they may want their next supercomputers to follow suit."

The machine has unique characteristics: it is scalable from a single cabinet (96 processors) to approximately 300 cabinets (30,000 processors). In addition, the system was designed with a unique capability to monitor and manage itself. Much of the cost incurred for the machine is non-recurring engineering design costs.

"We couldn’t afford a ’Rolls Royce’ -- an entirely custom-designed machine," says Camp. "The way Red Storm is designed, we don’t have to shut down to replace a part. We work around failed components until we decide to fix them -- all without shutting down."

Cray was chosen because the company was "forward-looking, flexible, willing to work with us to design a new architecture, and had the lowest cost proposal."

The machine itself -- a few facts

The machine has 96 processors in each computer cabinet, with four processors to a board. Each processor can have up to eight gigabytes of memory sitting next to it. Four Cray SeaStars -- powerful networking chips -- sit on a daughter board atop each processor board. All SeaStars talk to each other "like a Rubik cube with lots of squares on each face," says Camp. "Cray SeaStars are about a factor of five faster than any current competing capability."

Messages encoded in MPI (the Message Passage Interface standard) move from processor to processor at a sustained speed of 4.5 gigabytes per second bidirectionally. The amount of time to get the first information bit from one processor to another is less than 5 microseconds across the system. The machine is arranged in four rows of cabinets. There are a total of 11,648 Opteron processors and a similar number of SeaStars.

The SeaStar chip includes an 800 MHz DDR Hypertransport interface to its Opteron processor, a PowerPC core for handling message-passing chores, and a seven-port router (six external ports). SeaStars are linked together to make up the system’s 3-D (X-Y-Z axis) mesh interconnect.

IBM is fabricating the SeaStar chips using 0.13-micron CMOS technology.

Visualization will occur inside the computer itself -- a capability unique to Red Storm among supercomputers.

Neal Singer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sandia.gov

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cloud technology: Dynamic certificates make cloud service providers more secure
15.01.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht New discovery could improve brain-like memory and computing
10.01.2018 | University of Minnesota

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>