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 Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets
22.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes

nachricht Touchscreens go 3D with buttons that pulsate and vibrate under your fingertips
14.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>