Singapore’s National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) is poised to boost its supercomputing power by an order of magnitude. In December 2016, the NSCC launched its Advanced Supercomputer for Petascale Innovation Research and Enterprise (ASPIRE 1), bringing Singapore into the petascale era. Now, a year after its international agreement with Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, NSCC is planning a $200 million upgrade.
Currently, ASPIRE 1 – comprised of 1,288 nodes that mainly leverage Intel Xeon processors, with some nodes accelerated by NVIDIA Tesla GPUs – is rated at 1 petaflops of supercomputing power. The proposed upgrade, which will cost about 150 million USD, is expected to yield a system with ~15 to 20 petaflops of compute power and storage to suit its increased ability.
When completed, the upgrades might place the NSCC’s supercomputer among the top fifteen systems worldwide – leapfrogging hundreds of other systems. The upgrades are also expected to lighten the load on ASPIRE 1, which has been operating at over 90 percent in recent years supporting some 4,000 users.
Beyond the upgrades to ASPIRE 1 itself, the NSCC expects to put some of the money toward related upgrades, including a high-performance network connecting it to its partners, an “ultra-green” datacenter, and general network upgrades for existing users. The NSCC is even exploring moonshot ideas, such as housing its next system on a floating platform.
The upgrades were announced by Singapore’s finance minister, Heng Swee Keat, at the Supercomputing Asia conference. “How we transform all our industries, sector by sector, systematically, and search for new engines of growth, will be key to our future economy,” he said. “In this regard, high-performance computing can play a key role.” Indeed, the NSCC is currently using its supercomputing power to conduct climate modeling and simulation of objects like oil rigs and engines.
No timeline has been announced for when the upgrades will begin or be completed.