10-Tflops computer built off the shelf

EE Times:

10-Tflops computer built off the shelf

Lawrence Livermore National Lab is putting together a supercomputer that will boast nearly the same performance as the ASCII White system from IBM Corp. that the lab now uses but it promises to be 10 times cheaper. Called Evolocity, the system will be the fastest clustered supercomputer in the world, according to Lawrence Livermore.

“This network approach is nice because we can use a standard PCI slot on each processor node, which gives a 4.5-microsecond latency,” he said, as opposed to 90-µs latency for Gigabit Ethernet.

The network uses bus host adapters on each node, supporting a 320-Mbyte transfer speed in one direction and 400-Mbyte bidirectional throughput. Each processing node is a server board from SuperMicro Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), built around the Intel E7500 chip set with two Xeon processors running at 2.4 GHz. The boards are linked by a network assembled by Linux Networx into a clustered system that will have 960 server nodes.

The file system, called Lustre, uses a client/server model. Large, fast RAM-based memory systems support a metadata center, and data is represented across the enterprise in the form of object-storage targets. “Being able to share data across the enterprise is an exciting new capability. It will allow more collaboration among research projects,” Seager said. For example, workstations on the network running visualization programs can directly access data generated by Evolocity.

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