Here’s a collection of highlights, selected totally subjectively, from this week’s HPC news stream as reported at insideHPC.com and HPCwire.
>>10 words and a link
SAGE creates tiled displays in Windows;
Bill McColl opines on commercial parallel computing;
Lower power FBDIMMs announced, reader speculates likely soft error increase;
SiCortex and ANL hold 2nd application workshop;
Updated Rocks v5 Rolls;
IBM adds doubles precision, 16 times memory to Cell blade;
Sun adds quadcore Opterons to new servers;
680M hours up for grabs in 2009 INCITE awards;
>>ORNL Jaguar completes upgrade
Oak Ridge National Lab’s Jaguar supercomputer just completed its latest upgrade. The Cray XT3/XT4 system was previously chewing through 119 Tflops. With this upgrade, the new peak performance rate has jumped to 263 Tflops.
Where does this new upgrade position Jaguar for the next Top500 list? Well, currently the system runs at 119 Tflops peak and roughly 101 Tflops max [as quoted by the Nov07 Top500 list]. If one does the math, you’re looking at a system with ~85 percent efficiency on Linpack. Now, at 263 Tflops peak, the max should come in right around 223.55 if they maintain the same efficiency [which is often very difficult]. If the Top500 list were not to change at all this June, this would place Jaguar in the number two slot.
Regardless of how the list will change this summer, Jaguar will most certainly be competitive within the Top10. You can check out insideHPC’s Top500 rumor mill to get the scoop on some other contenders.
>>The Cluster Challenge: growing HPC one contest at a time
SC08 will once again bring the Cluster Challenge to university teams from around the world. Teams of undergraduates will compete on the exhibit floor, using clusters of their own design, to run a workload of real-world problems. The contest is simple, but the idea is big: users of all skills, and organizations of all sizes, can now own tools that just a few years ago were limited to just a few of the world’s wealthiest R&D organizations. The Challenge aims to demonstrate just how accessible all this horsepower really is.
The Cluster Challenge, now in its second year as part of the technical program at the annual Supercomputing conference, is billed as an event to showcase the computational power that even inexpensive clusters have and, according to the Web site, the ability of potential users around the world “to harness open source software to solve interesting and important problems.” The competition pits teams of undergraduates against one another to see who can build and configure a cluster that accomplishes the most work using real computational codes in the least amount of time.
Check out the rest of the story here.
>>UCF lands first supercomputer
The University of Central Florida has landed its first supercomputer. Thanks to a $2.6M grant from the Army, UCF has purchased a new super from IBM. The new cluster tips the scales with 224 processors, 512GB of memory and 22.2TB of storage. There is also an upgrade planned for this summer to triple the compute and memory capacity.
“This is a great opportunity for UCF and the simulation industry,” said Michael R. Macedonia, general manager of the Orlando unit of Forterra Systems Inc., a high-tech partner with the college. “People need to understand how important it is to have a supercomputer of this class in Central Florida. This will allow UCF to press the limits of science and attract new business to the region as well.”
The initial compute workloads will include defense simulation training [hence the Army dollars attached]. Future workloads will include medical simulation, civil engineering and nanoscience.
For more info on the new super, read the full article.
>>A glimpse of RoadRunner
ComputerWorld has posted an interesting peek into what could become the fastest supercomputer on the planet as measured by Linpack this June. Rumors have been circulating that RoadRunner was going to take a stab at the top spot. IBM’s fabled RoadRunner is in the process of receiving Phase3 of an upgrade to push its peak performance over a petaflop. 6,000 square feet of floorspace, 250 tons of equipment and lots of IBM logos have gone into building this behemoth. How sure is IBM that they will be able to do so?
“We will break the petascale,” [Don] Grice [Chief Engineer of RoadRunner] told Computerworld.
According to sources inside IBM, they are quite simply contractually obligated to do so. This, of course, alludes to the fact that RoadRunner will be over 2x the current speed of its cousin, BlueGene/L at Livermore [currently 478 Tflops].
Computerworld has also posted a series of pictures of RoadRunner taken from within IBM’s lab in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.