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Cray unveils 100 petaflop XC30 supercomputer

8 November 2012

Xc30-1
Cray XC30. Click to enlarge.

Cray Inc. launched its next-generation high-end supercomputing system: the Cray XC30 supercomputer. Previously code-named “Cascade,” the Cray XC30 supercomputer combines the new Aries interconnect, Intel Xeon processors, Cray’s fully-integrated software environment, and innovative power and cooling technologies to create a production supercomputer that is designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops.

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently launched its new 20 petaflop supercomputer, Titan—a hybrid-architecture Cray XK6 system. (Earlier post.)

As a follow on to our most successful, productive line of supercomputers, the Cray XC30 is the realization of our Adaptive Supercomputing vision and will provide researchers, scientists and engineers with a system that can adapt to fit their most demanding applications. We’re off to a great start with more than $100 million in contracts for this system, and we believe the Cray XC30 series of supercomputers will allow a broader base of users to leverage the world’s most advanced supercomputing technology.

—Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray

Several leading HPC centers have signed contracts to purchase Cray XC30 supercomputers, including:

  • The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) in Lugano, Switzerland
  • The Pawsey Centre in Perth, Australia, owned by CSIRO and operated by iVEC
  • The Finnish IT Center for Science Ltd. (CSC)
  • The DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Berkeley, Calif.
  • The Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies (ACCMS) at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan
  • The University of Stuttgart’s High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) in Germany

The XC30 is the first in a planned family of products that will span from technical enterprise computing to the largest systems in the world. The new high-end system features the new HPC-optimized Aries system interconnect; a new Dragonfly topology that frees applications from locality constraints; an innovative cooling system that utilizes a transverse airflow to lower customers’ total cost of ownership; the next-generation of the scalable, high performance Cray Linux Environment (CLE) that also supports a wide range of ISV applications; Cray’s HPC optimized programming environment; and the ability to handle a wide variety of processor types including the Intel Xeon processors—a first for Cray’s high-end systems.

Aries
A single Aries system-on-a-chip device provides network connectivity for the four nodes on a Cray XC blade. Source: Cray. Click to enlarge.

The HPC-optimized Aries interconnect, implemented with a high-bandwidth, low-diameter network topology called Dragonfly, provides substantial improvements on all of the network performance metrics for HPC: bandwidth, latency, message rate and more. This network provides programmers with global access to all of the memory of parallel applications and supports the most demanding global communication patterns.

The Dragonfly network topology is constructed from a configurable mix of backplane, copper and optical links, providing scalable global bandwidth, avoiding expensive external switches and enabling in-place upgrades for future bandwidth requirements.

The Aries ASIC provides the network interconnect for the compute nodes on the Cray XC30 series base blades and implements a standard PCI Express Gen3 host interface, supporting a wide range of HPC processing compute engines. The universal nature of the Cray XC30 series open architecture allows the system to be configured with the best available devices today, and then augmented or upgraded in the future with the user’s choice of processors/coprocessors utilizing processor daughter cards (PDCs).

The Cray XC30 will utilize the Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 product family and with these Intel processors, Cray XC30 systems can scale in excess of one million cores. Initially the Intel Xeon processors provide up to 3,072 cores and enable 66 teraflops of performance per cabinet. Future processor upgrades will boost clock frequency and bump the number of embedded cores, accelerating overall system performance.

Additionally, future versions of the Cray XC family of supercomputers will be available with the new Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs based on the next-generation NVIDIA Kepler GPU computing architecture.

On the software side, under CLE many ISV applications are available “out-of-the-box” under Cluster Compatibility Mode (CCM). Selected ISV applications are highly tuned and available under Extreme Scalability Mode (ESM). Some example applications available under ESM incude:

  • Astrophysics: Cactus, Chimera, Gadget, QCD-Milc, ZEUS-MP

  • Chemistry/Materials: ABINIT, AMBER, CPMD, DCA++, GAMESS, Gromacs, LAMMPS, LS3DF, LSMS, Madness, NWCHEM, PARATEC, Qbox, Quantum Espresso, Siesta, TBMD, VASP

  • Climate/Weather: 4DVAR, CAM, CCSM, HIRLAM, HYCOM, MM5, POP, WRF

  • Fluid Mechanics/Combustion: DNS, OpenFOAM, Overflow, PFLOTRAN, S3D

  • Fusion: Aorsa, GTC

  • Solid Mechanics: CTH, LS-DYNA

Early shipments of the Cray XC30 are starting now, and systems are expected to be widely available in first quarter of 2013.

Cray is a leader in the high-end of the supercomputing industry, and the Cray XC30 system promises to continue the Company’s strong standing in the market for designing, building and installing leadership-class supercomputers, such as the ‘Titan’ system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the ‘Blue Waters’ supercomputer at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The Cray XC30 supercomputer also advances Cray’s Adaptive Supercomputing vision, which aims to boost application performance for their customers by exploiting hybrid processing.

—Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president for HPC

The Cray XC30 supercomputer is made possible in part by Cray’s participation in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) High Productivity Computing Systems program.

November 8, 2012 in Exascale computing, High Performance Computing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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