Even more super computing

The San Diego Supercomputer Centre (SDSC) at UC San Diego has announced that its IBM eServer BlueGene supercomputer has been tripled in size, giving a peak performance of 17.2 Teraflops.

SDSC was the first academic institution to deploy a BlueGene supercomputer. Since then, the BlueGene architecture has been adopted more widely, and is currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, holding the first and third spots on the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers.

‘As more scientists have used SDSC’s BlueGene Data system, we’ve had increasing demand for time on it, which led us to expand it,’ said Richard Moore, Director of Production Systems at SDSC. ‘With the expansion, we will have tripled the capacity, and scientists will routinely be able to get access to up to 6,144 processors with excellent overall performance, a rare opportunity that will enable new scientific breakthroughs.’

SDSC’s powerful IBM eServer BlueGene system is housed in three computer racks. Each rack holds 1,024 compute nodes and 128 I/O nodes, which is the maximum ratio of I/O to compute nodes, needed to support data-intensive computing. Each node consists of two PowerPC processors that run at 700 megahertz and share 512 megabytes of memory, giving an aggregate peak speed of 17.2 Teraflops.

BlueGene’s efficiencies in power consumption, cooling, and space requirements are vital for institutions hosting large computing power.

‘We’re very pleased at how cost-effective this upgrade is,’ said Moore. ‘We’re adding more than 11 Teraflops of computing power for scientists and engineers, with very little incremental system administration time or operations costs.’

SDSC’s BlueGene Data machine is playing an important role in the march toward ‘petascale’ supercomputers – systems that can run at the speed of one thousand trillion calculations per second, hundreds of thousands of times faster than a typical PC. SDSC staff have worked with users to scale three important science codes to run on up to 40,960 processors of the largest open system in the world, IBM’s 114 peak Teraflops BlueGene Watson system.