Cray Adds Arm Processors with Complete Software Stack to the Cray XC50 Supercomputer

November 13, 2017

SEATTLE, Nov. 13, 2017 — Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq:CRAY) today announced the Company is creating the world’s first production-ready, Arm®-based supercomputer with the addition of Cavium ThunderX2 processors, based on 64-bit Armv8-A architecture, to the Cray XC50 supercomputer. Cray customers will have a complete Arm-based supercomputer that features a full software environment, including the Cray Linux Environment, the Cray Programming Environment, and Arm-optimized compilers, libraries, and tools for running today’s supercomputing workloads.

Cray enhanced its compiler and programming environment to achieve more performance out of the Cavium ThunderX2 processors. In a head-to-head comparison of 135 standard HPC benchmarks, Cray’s compiler showed performance advantages in two-thirds of the benchmarks, and showed significant (more than 20 percent) performance advantage in one-third of the tests, versus other public domain Armv8 compilers from LLVM and GNU.

“With the integration of Arm processors into our flagship Cray XC50 systems, we will offer our customers the world’s most flexible supercomputers,” said Fred Kohout, Cray’s senior vice president of products and chief marketing officer. “Adding Arm processors complements our system’s ability to support a variety of host processors, and gives customers a unique, leadership-class supercomputer for compute, simulation, big data analytics, and deep learning. Our software engineers built the industry’s best Arm toolset to maximize customer value from the system, which is representative of the R&D work we do every day to build on our leadership position in supercomputing.”

Cray is currently working with multiple supercomputing centers on the development of Arm-based supercomputing systems, including various labs in the United States Department of Energy and the GW4 alliance – a coalition of four leading, research-intensive universities in the UK. Through an alliance with Cray and the Met Office in the UK, GW4 is designing and building “Isambard,” an Arm-based Cray XC50 supercomputer.

“The GW4 Isambard project aims to deliver the world’s first Arm-based, production-quality HPC service,” said Professor Simon McIntosh-Smith from the University of Bristol. “Ease of use, robustness, and performance, are all critical for a production service, and our early experiences with Cray’s ThunderX2 systems and end-to-end Arm software environment are very promising. All of the real scientific codes we’ve tried so far have worked out of the box, and we’re also seeing performance competitive with the best in class. Having access to Cray’s optimized HPC software stack of compilers and libraries in addition to all of the open-source tools has been a real advantage.”

“The unmatched scalability and flexibility of the Arm architecture, combined with our upcoming SVE technology is the most efficient path to achieving the vision of exascale,” said Drew Henry, senior vice president and general manager, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm. “The Cray XC50 takes us one step closer to exascale by fueling a new era of innovation with the HPC community, while expanding the HPC footprint of the Arm ecosystem, the world’s largest and most open for silicon designers, software developers, and tools providers.”

“Cavium has developed a leadership position in the Arm server market, and has collaborated with Cray for the last three years, starting with our first-generation ThunderX Arm processor, which was used to optimize the Cray compiler, libraries, and tool chain for the Armv8-A architecture,” said Gopal Hegde, VP/GM, Data Center Processor Group at Cavium. “ThunderX2 combines our second-generation, fully out of order high-performance Armv8-A custom cores with best-in-class memory bandwidth and rich IO configurations to provide a highly-differentiated processor for HPC applications. ThunderX2 based blades in Cray’s flagship XC50 systems, integrated with the Aries network and Cray’s optimized software stack, enables an ideal supercomputing platform for a variety of high performance compute workloads.”

Cray XC50 supercomputers with the Cavium ThunderX2 processors will be available in both liquid-cooled cabinets and air-cooled cabinets to address a variety of datacenter needs. Compute blades can be mixed and matched with Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel Xeon Phi™ processors, and NVIDIA® Tesla® GPU accelerators. The Arm-based Cray XC50 supercomputers will be available in the second quarter of 2018.

About the Cray XC50 Supercomputer
The Cray XC50 series of supercomputers are designed to handle the most challenging workloads requiring sustained multi-petaflop performance. They incorporate the Aries high performance network interconnect for low latency and scalable global bandwidth, as well as the latest 64-bit Cavium ThunderX2 processors, Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Xeon Phi processors, and NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators. With a top peak performance of 500 petaflops, and one petaflops in a single cabinet, the Cray XC50 supercomputer delivers on Cray’s commitment to performance supercomputing with an architecture and software environment that provides extreme scalability and sustained performance.

For more information on the Cray XC supercomputers, please visit the Cray website at www.cray.com.

About Cray Inc.

Global supercomputing leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq:CRAY) provides innovative systems and solutions enabling scientists and engineers in industry, academia and government to meet existing and future simulation and analytics challenges. Leveraging more than 45 years of experience in developing and servicing the world’s most advanced supercomputers, Cray offers a comprehensive portfolio of supercomputers and big data storage and analytics solutions delivering unrivaled performance, efficiency and scalability. Cray’s Adaptive Supercomputing vision is focused on delivering innovative next-generation products that integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified architecture, allowing customers to meet the market’s continued demand for realized performance. Go to www.cray.com for more information.


Source: Cray Inc.

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