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April 29, 2013

Finnish Researchers Welcome New Cray Super

Tiffany Trader

Cray XC30 supercomputers are a hot commodity right now. Metaphorically-speaking, that is, as these leadership-class supercomputers are a far cry from so-called commodity servers. The latest research center to install the top-of-the-line Cray system is the Finnish Supercomputing Center, CSC.

The machine, affectionately called Sisu (which is roughly translated into English as resilience, tenacity or determination) opened for production on March 18, 2013, following three months of intensive system testing. The system was inaugurated on April 25, in Kajaani, Finland, with leading European HPC representatives in attendance.

As reported by CSC — IT Center for Science Ltd., Finland’s national high performance computing (HPC) facility, the next-generation Cray XC30 supercomputer provides cost-effective supercomputing capacity for the needs of science and research across Finland. Sisu will bring a new level of computational power for researchers engaged in many important science endeavors, from nanotechnology to fusion energy, climate analysis and more.

While there are other Cray XC30 systems underway in Europe, Siso is the first to hit production status. Now in its first phase, Sisu occupies four cabinets with a total of 1,472 Intel Xeon E5-2670 CPUs (2.6 GHz), each containing 8 cores. Altogether, these 11,776 cores produce 244 teraflops peak computing performance. Each node has 2 GB of memory per computing core for a total of 32 GB per node, interconnected by the high-speed Aries interconnect.

A second phase is scheduled for mid-2014. Once complete, the supercomputer is on track to reach petascale levels, with approximately 40,000 cores generating 1.7 petaflops peak computational power.

Sisu is intended for massively parallel computing jobs that require a lot of high performance computing power. Parallel jobs will run on a minimum of 64 cores all the way up to 4,096 computing cores. Larger jobs are also in the works for so-called Grand Challenge applications as long as potential benefit justifies the massive computational demands.

“As a part of Datacenter CSC Kajaani the new supercomputer supports Ministry’s goal of Finland being in the vanguard of knowledge by the year 2020. The Finnish researchers will have access to a state-of-the-art research infrastructure that will also support the internationalisation of research,” reported Director Riitta Maijala, Department of Higher Education and Science Policy, from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, in the official announcement.

“Today’s inauguration of the new Cray XC30 supercomputer Sisu is an exciting moment for Intel and more importantly, the Finnish and European research community, which will be able to take advantage of the computational resources of the Cray supercomputer powered by Intel’s processors,” commented Jörgen Forsberg, Nordic Enterprise Sales Director, Intel. “We are proud to celebrate the inauguration of one of the first Cray XC30 supercomputers with Intel Inside in production use in Europe, and look forward to the breakthrough innovations and discoveries researchers can achieve with Sisu.”

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